Close this search box.


NO PAY? NO WAY! is the best social farce you’re likely to ever see. It’s a joy ride, a political satire, a belly-laugh and irresistible slapstick. It is also timely.  It speaks for today’s cost of living crisis. The characters rent their humble homes in a bland social housing complex. Antonia comes home from the supermarket and tells her friend Margherita about a spontaneous riot there – the housewives of the neighbourhood refuse to pay for groceries. The prices doubled and the women aren’t going to take it anymore – so they take the food off the shelves and walk out. The husbands are outraged that their law-abiding women should steal… but then the men are made redundant and they are evicted from their homes. The husbands turn tables and compromise their principles, too. it is this everyday mundane task of shopping that escalates into revolution.

 It is the power of the little people that force change. And yet…SPOILER ALERT… by the end, the ‘system’ has defeated the little people. The play ends with the doleful singing of Bella ciao (Goodbye beautiful), a song dedicated to the partisans of Italy who fought against the invading Nazis. 

The play was first performed in Italy in 1974, at a time the grocery prices had doubled. The performance caused a riot in several Italian stores where the local ladies stole food from the shops.

Written by husband and wife team Franca Rame and Dario Fo, then adapted from the original Italian by Marieke Hardy and directed by Sarah Giles, NO PAY?NO WAY?

was presented by Sydney Theatre Company in 2020. Happily, it is back on stage at the Drama Theatre. 

The acting is wonderful – what precise timing for all the fast-paced slap-stick trickery! Aaron Tsindos plays four characters: a police sergeant, an inspector, an undertaker and an old man. His robust attempt at CPR has the audience in stitches. Mandy Mcelhinney is Antonia. Her facial expressions are priceless. Glenn Hazeldine is Giovanni, Antonia’s husband, who is stridently opposed to revolutionary tactics – until he isn’t and switches to the other side. Emma Harvie as Margherita is agile, flexible and hilarious. Roman Delo is Luigi, Margherita’s excitable revolutionary husband. 

Clearly this production is a team effort. It all works well together. The designer is Charles Davis. The realistic set is moveable, showing the outside, then the inside of the flats. The lighting designer is Paul Jackson, the composer and sound designer Steve Francis, the assistant director Tait de Lorenzo and fight and movement director Tim Dashwood.

NO PAY? NO WAY! is playing the Drama Theatre of the Sydney Opera House only until May 11. DON’T MISS IT!

Duration: 2 hrs 20 mins (including interval). 
Content: Frequent strong language and sexual references  

Production photography by Daniel Boud

Review by Carol Dance


Subscribe to our Bi-Weekly Newstetter

Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to receive updates and stay informed about art and cultural events around Sydney. – it’s free!

Want More?

Get exclusive access to free giveaways and double passes to cinema and theatre events across Sydney. 

Scroll to Top