Paper Cut just fluttered through New York City for a precious few performances at The Tank, and it’s a pleasure to see something not only funny and witty but genuinely original. In her one-woman show, Jerusalem-born Yael Rasooly, who also directs, plays a repressed secretary so buttoned-up and businesslike her co-workers call her the Bulldog. But behind the hard visage lurks a hopeless romantic who pines for her suave boss and obsesses over the flowery and suspenseful Hollywood romances and Gothic horror pictures of her day.
As her unseen boss and co-workers get ready to leave for the day, and she’s left alone with an important document to deliver to an important client, her inner world gushes out as though she has no power to stop it. So, by means of paper cutouts and popups, and playing outrageously off the audience, she lurches through a careening collage of movie tropes and references. It’s an off-the-wall tour de force.
There’s an amazing medley of snatches of song from Edith Piaf, the Great American Songbook, and beyond, complete with overblown but dead-on vocal impressions. There’s a multilingual, black-and-white tour through honeymoon destinations both traditional and unusual. There’s a spot-on comic bit about radio reception, a paper dance sequence, a touch of striptease, and, amidst all the hijinks, honest-to-goodness pathos. Rasooly’s numerous intersecting talents and wide emotional range get a full workout in under an hour.
Not least, her fine timing is a wonder to behold. Though this is a “solo” show, the lighting and sound technician at The Tank deserves kudos for brilliantly matching Rasooly’s precision and the show’s many quick cuts and changes.
You don’t need to know classic Hollywood films to enjoy Paper Cut. Anyone who does will get a special kick out of it, though. So will fans of the era’s popular music. So will anyone who loves a performance of great skill and wackiness. So will anyone who needs a good laugh in trying times – and isn’t that just about all of us?
The show has been performed in 27 countries. If it comes to your part of the cosmos, get yourself there, whether by car, bus, stagecoach, or Orient Express. You won’t be sorry.