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They Don’t Pay, We Won’t Pay

Wed 17 May, 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

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Fast, furious and very funny, this is farce with fire in its belly. A comedy of cash-strapped conniving and riotous civil disobedience. McAndrew relocates the action from Italy to present-day Britain, with Brexit looming, austerity biting and the scars from decades of declining UK industry still smarting. Hunger is the starting point for Italian Nobel prize winner Dario Fo’s 1974 farce (lightly redrafted after the 2008 banking crisis). At a local supermarket the protest has escalated into full-scale looting. Police sirens wail. In her kitchen, recently redundant, punchy Anthea shares her spoils with her timid Catholic friend, Maggie. Their husbands must not find the stolen goods: stolid factory worker and trade unionist Jack and his naive-but-learning-fast workmate, Lewis, would not approve. The women share information with the men “on a need-to-know basis” – not just about the theft, but about their losing battles against mounting arrears on rent, electricity, gas… Heading over to her own flat, Maggie hides beneath her coat a bulging shopping bag the size and shape of a baby bump. The play holds dialogue that leaps from political diatribe to pun-sprinkled banter and sly asides. However crazy the plot elements, all are set in motion by actual circumstances: price hikes, factory closures, Catholic prohibitions. If the politics are particular, though, the theme is universal: the poor pay while the rich profiteer. Blackburn Drama Club Production

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