Can’t Pay! Won’t Pay! – Review
Can Pay. Should Pay….cause it’s entirely worth it.
Just to make clear the political orientation of this play – on more than one occasion, it pointedly accuses the Communist Party, yes that Communist Party, of being not really left wing enough. So not likely to be on Andrew Bolt’s list of things to see and almost definitely absent from the National Curriculum being currently prepared by our duly elected Minister for Education.
Not that I was overly aware of this until I was half way home on account of the layer of unapologetically slapstick hilarity laid down over the rhetoric with enthusiastic abandon and consummate skill by Director Bob Philippe and his very able cast of five (…..or eight, if you count all of Tim Williams’ near identical twin brothers, none of which I had the slightest idea existed until last night).
Karen Jones as Antonia, gets through an absolute mountain of dialogue as she first ropes her less than enthusiastic friend Margherita, played with excellent comic timing by first time actor Karen Toohey, into accepting the proceeds of an ever so casual major shoplifting incident, then spends the rest of the play more or less successfully convincing their two less than perceptive husbands (Ross Fletcher and Peter Firminger)and one similarly clueless Police Inspector (Tim Williams) that the large bag of stolen goods Margherita has stuck up her overcoat is in fact something else entirely.
See the play if you want to find out what.
Ross’s Giovanni is a perpetually active study of comically conflicted chaos and Peter’s Luigi plays off him nicely as his rather more politically pragmatic friend (though still sadly lacking in knowledge vis a vis the female reproductive system). Both were perfectly suited to the roles, even if I was initially confused by Peter’s complete lack of facial hair and the fact that Karen and Karen seemed to have stolen his signature long black coat look.
Tim Williams as, well, about 50 different characters, demonstrates a level of verbal and physical fitness that boggles the mind, as he effortlessly plays half the play’s cast entirely by himself. I for one am quite happy he never went into law enforcement.
Technically of course the whole thing went off with the practiced efficiency that is a hallmark of all Valley Artists productions. So, well done to the team of creative lunatics that yet again put together such an awesome set and to all those running about in the shadows wearing nothing but black skivvies and presumably really cool night vision goggles.
Bob Philippe has once again presented the valley with a production well worth stumping up $25 for and I recommend doing just that as soon as you absolutely can …….even if he does seem to be suggesting we should all pop into Cessnock and clean out Woolworths.