BWW Review: LOW PAY? DON'T PAY!, Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Written in 1974 by Dario Fo and translated by Joseph Farrell, Johnny McKnight revives Low Pay? Don't Pay! to examine how relevant the piece is in today's political climate.
The contracts are changing at the local supermarket. Staff are being moved onto zero hour contracts knowing that they will still be expected to work a full week- but with none of the same rights. The workers are revolting and begin looting the supermarket, grabbing whatever they can while chanting "Low Pay? Don't Pay!". Toni (Julie Wilson Nimmo) has just been let go by her employer of twenty years but can't face telling her husband Gio (Gavin Jon Wright) as things are unstable at his own work- and she certainly doesn't want him to know that's she's one of the thieves.
The police are sweeping the town, looking for the stolen goods and this is when the farce really kicks in. Toni and her neighbour Maggie go to great lengths to hide what they've been up to and their methods grow increasingly outlandish. The play is undeniably silly and consistently hilarious with some excellent one-liners thrown in. There's a healthy helping of well executed physical comedy and the cast have every gag timed with precision.
I'm not familiar with the original text but this production has definitely been giving a strong Glaswegian twist. Despite all the silliness, there's a passionate and heartfelt speech delivered by Julie Wilson Nimmo that really hits home about how Glasgow is being affected by austerity and what the government's priorities are. The piece isn't preachy or based on opinion- it's factual in that 1 in 3 children are living below the poverty line in our communities.
Low Pay? Don't Pay! is a riotous whirlwind of a play that relies on a strong cast to deliver the razor-sharp comedy alongside astute social commentary- which they certainly achieved!
Low Pay? Don't Pay! runs at the Tron Theatre until 11 May and then heads out on a Scottish theatre tour. The piece is also being staged as part of a community tour with tickets starting from £2.50 in local community centres. Full date and ticket information are available here.