Christmas Review



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Ennio Marchetto


Courtesy of Ennio Marchetto


Purcell Room

Southbank Centre


11 - 22 December 2009






A review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!


International cult favourite, ‘living cartoon’ mime artist Ennio Marchetto returns to SBC this Christmas with his innovative, very funny show. Having seen and savoured Marchetto’s outrageously comic, highly ingenious act in 2007 at Southbank Centre, I was really looking forward to seeing him in action again. ENNIO! as his tour of America was called is literally, a self-made man and, at times a self made woman too. The cleverly designed paper origami art of this former Venetian carnival costume and mask maker provides his artifices, along with his rubbery facial expressions and well-observed body language and mannerisms of well known stars of the music world from Beyonce and Susan Boyle through the metamorphosis’s of the late, great Michael Jackson and one expressively singing face amid many in a one man gospel choir. Though, given the swiftly moving clips from his performances showing on monitors in the South Bank Centre, it would seem Marchetto has an endless supply of characters to draw on.

Anyone who’s ever seen Marchetto bounding across the stage as Marilyn Monroe, complete with trademark white halter dress, blond hair and heels (all made from paper) will never forget it, especially if one of the two breasts he’s bouncing comes apart at the seams! Not to worry though as Marchetto has it all under control for there is nothing which comes unravelled that cannot be quickly realigned. If it all seems a trifle un-PC at times, as in the case of his black and white/male ‘duet’ with Louie Armstrong, citing ‘vanilla and sarsaparilla’ as common ground, it’s only because the music he’s chosen to lip-synch to in his self-made ‘costume’, (over a black latex body stocking and black shoes), from whatever era, was simply not tailored to satisfy today’s socially acceptable mores, back when.

Part of the great fun of watching Marchetto in action is down to the element of surprise, and this is best realised following his transformation from one character to another, as he often uses the back of the costume he’s just been enacting in as the front of another, many of which have parts he is able to manoeuvre from behind, making him a puppet-master of sorts. The more outlandishly mismatched the two characters are during these fast moving transitions, the funnier the result. One such rapid fire change occurs when Marchetto swiftly morphs from a writhing, scantily clad Kylie Minogue to sixties one hit wonder, The Singing Nun.

Favourite characters of mine and others, as evidenced by crowd reaction include Marchetto as the Mona Lisa, complete with finger drumming, tutting facial accuracy for a (hypothetical) young lady of Mona’s age, which most of us may not envision when appraising DaVinci’s pensive masterpiece. Other standouts include that grand dame of Country and Western, Dolly Parton, astride a donkey no less, Eminem complete with laughably ‘street’ lyrics and in yer face posturing and, Marchetto’s kitschy Doris Day, singing ‘Que Sera, Sera’ alongside of the two foxes formerly known as her fur stole.

Marchetto also uses some of his living caricatures to make a social statement about his opinions of certain music ‘stars’ like Lady Gaga,  which ends up in a way that expresses his rather unflattering thoughts to great comic effect, and his enactment of Cher as a literally, mummified entertainer.

Admittedly, a couple of the characters in Marchetto’s act, such as his Amy Winehouse haven’t changed over the past two years and could do with a bit of pruning.

But that said, it must quickly be added that Ennio Marchetto’s show is as fast paced, and riotously enjoyable an hour as you could ever hope to spend, as evidenced by the unanimous cheering coming from his audience as he took one last bow after his wowing finish.



Booking Fee:£1.45 (Members £0.00)
50% off (limited availability)50% off Under 16





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