Paper Cuts

Paper Cuts
By Kirsty Budding. Budding Theatre. Directed by Kirsty Budding. Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre. 21–23 December 2017

Paper Cuts is sub-titled Comedic and Satrical Monologues for Audition and Performance.  The production coincides with the launch of the book of the same title and employs 30 of the book’s 36 monologues (some of which are in reality one-sided dialogues), using nearly as many actors and a master of ceremonies, Jasper Lindell, with a flair for the comic himself.


Though many of the pieces are no more than character sketches, exploring moments in their characters’ lives, the majority play out a short story taking us from A to B, and it’s in the course of each of these that Budding as their author excels in comically upsetting our expectations at least once.


Without a set as such, each piece used minimal props, the most notable being the other actors in their adoption of attitudes to suit the monologue in progress.


The relatively small space of the Canberra Theatre Centre’s Courtyard Studio provides no encouragement for actors to shout their lines, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how good most of the acting was. The experience of the veterans amongst the cast certainly showed, but by and large the performances were restrained enough to make them believable.  The outstanding performance of the night was Phillip Mackenzie’s rendition of Gertrude’s Sweetheart: Mackenzie was simply magnetic, and you may justly consider the price of admission a fair bargain for that performance alone.


John P. Harvey

Image: Phillip Mackenzie in Gertrude’s Sweetheart, one of Kirsty Budding’s Paper Cuts.

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