Liam Rudden: From Venice with laughs for Ennio

Ennio Marchetto Pic: Comp

Ennio Marchetto Pic: Comp

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DOLLY Parton on a donkey! The first time I saw Ennio Marchetto I laughed... and laughed... and laughed. The Venetian entertainer was quite simply unique. He still is, which is probably why he is now hailed universally as the ‘Living Paper Cartoon’.

Although it has been some years since he last appeared in the UK, all that will change this August, when a whole new generation of Fringe-goers will be introduced to his clever, witty, at times slapstick, but always spectacular style of comedy.

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with him and his long-time collaborator and costume designer, Sosthen Hennekam, as they put the finishing touches to their new ‘Edinburgh’ show - around 60 characters in 60 minutes.

It was at the Fringe, in 1989, that Ennio launched his career, he went on to appear in not one, but two Royal Variety Command Performances, so it was intriguing to see the creative process that goes into creating his outrageous characters.

All are made of card, drawn, coloured and cut by Sosthen (although Ennio does the wigs and headdresses), which the comedian then wears in a flourish of impossibly quick changes, while lip-synching to various pop anthems.

From Marilyn Monroe to Tina Turner to Celine Dion, they are all present, although my money is on his Miley Cyrus bringing the house down.

But it’s not just singers that the Clown Prince of Paper brings to life, his signature Mona Lisa and Scottish Piper will feature too - there will even been an unexpected appearance by Scotland’s First Minister, which I swear, must be seen to be believed - I’ve had a sneak preview.

To see for yourself, check out Ennio at the Pleasance, 30 July to 15 August 15. I reckon he’s going to be a hit all over again.