I don’t really know how The Devious Theatre Company in Kilkenny can produce such consistent high quality and exciting theatre events time after time, without significant funding and still offer seats at the lowest prices. But they do and they continue not only to impress but amaze with sure fire theatre that carries no baggage and much hard work linked to admirable ambition.
A blisteringly funny and scathing production of Daro Fo’s seventies Italian social farce Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! At the Set Theatre in Langton’s was a tour de force, a tour de farce and a gobsmacking energetic production with five excellent actors, an innovative director, some excellent costumes, a clever set and a technical team to impress.
Devious brought this social comedy right up to date with a scathing slap at current Irish problems and yet maintained the framework and subversive intent of the author Dario Fo.
The pace never flagged to unfold a fast action scenario that when prices went up, housewives took action and began mass shoplifting. When transport prices increased workers brought the system to a halt and this mayhem found expression in a marital comedy where two wives steal all around them and conceal their swag under their coats and in every space they can find in small utilitarian flats.
A police raid forces the women to convince an impressionable policeman that Margherita is pregnant and in short time the crazy husbands who spout anti-Communist guff arrive home to break-neck craziness.
This was excellent ensemble playing with lots of modern comedic techniques mixed with commedia Del arte and cinematic references.
Angela Barrett and Hazel Fahy carried the plot along as the two wives and Ken McGuire was splendid as the bewildered Giovanni with a blinder of a performance from Ross Costigan as Luigi with a rock and roll hairstyle like a Grease quiff.
David Thompson once impressed hugely as at least four characters in a master class of physical theatre and timing. John Morton was an inspirational director and Lucy McKenna’s costume design was a wonderful feature of this production.