First Night: Venetian man of many parts

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The Independent Online
Ennio Marchetto

Lyric, Hammersmith

IF YOU never thought you'd ever see the Pope, Fidel Castro and Tinky Winky from Teletubbies all on the same bill, then you've never heard of .

Dressed only in a black body-stocking and a rainforest's worth of paper, the Venetian performer lip-syncs and sashays around the stage as a cut- out celeb for a few seconds before ripping off the disguise to reveal another over-the-top caricature.

Imagine several series-worth of contestants from Stars In Their Eyes crossed with a quick-change artist and an expert in origami - and you're half-way to grasping Marchetto. It's comedy, Jim, but not as we know it.

The show represents an astonishing feat of memory; he runs through scores of celebs in little over an hour. It is also blinding technically. At one point, with just a few carefully folded strips of paper, Marchetto manages to become Dolly Parton bouncing along on a horse. Later, the simple application of a pair of pigtails changes Keith from the Prodigy into Judy Garland and then Godzilla.

For all his mimes and moves, however, the suspicion remains that Marchetto is a one-trick pony. Once you've been dazzled by one breathtaking metamorphosis, the law of diminishing returns sets in. Karaoke night at the local pub might be more fun.