Mixing origami and impersonation in inspiring ways, Venice-born Ennio Marchetto just brought his show Ennio: The Living Paper Cartoon to the New York Musical Theatre Festival. (I saw the final show of his run last night, but I hear he’ll be back like a human parcel.)
Ennio serves up a dizzying series of celebrity impressions, playing so many people you wonder why any show would need a cast of hundreds: Just get Ennio!
By simply folding his outfit into another one — or making quick adjustments between numbers in the dark — he goes from Gene Kelly to Stevie Wonder. From Kylie Minogue to a singing nun. From Judy Garland to E.T. From Cher to a mummy!
And from Queen Elizabeth, complete with handbag, to Freddie Mercury, complete with overbite. (Get it? Queen becomes Queen, not to mention queen.)
Lip-synching with deadpan perfection, he’ll make satirical comments — like changing from Bono into Spider-Man to the tune of “Money, Money, Money,” or making lewd facial gestures as Mona Lisa while faux-crooning “I’m your Venus.”
He achieves particular hilarity as Whitney Houston doing a cokey “I Will Always Love You,” repeating all the high notes like a broken record as the arm gestures get stuck.
And did I tell you about his Celine? His Elvis? His Dalai Lama?
Ennio makes it all look effortless, entertaining with his infinite ability to transform and to lovingly spoof the world of iconography.
This show not only looks good on paper; it looks good with paper.