Plain as Paper

Plain as Paper is an energetic physical theatre show centred around where our imaginations can take us using only paper—though what is going on there and why is not always plain.

The possibilities of the imagination may have been used to create the show, but for those watching it’s more like trying to understand someone else’s dream

Trying to tell many stories through their actions and paper props, we are left with no consistent stories or characters to follow. The young cast act out various scenes set—as a handy sign points out—from Germany to China, New York, and London, with music and lights providing the timing and mood. There’s no talking, just nonsense words reminiscent of the Minions from Despicable Me. Schoolboys with paper aeroplanes morph into WW1 soldiers, dancehalls turn into Chinese processions, and New York workers walk around with eyes fixed on their paper, and while these transfigurations may be interesting in themselves all this character- and scene-shifting leaves you somewhat at sea.

While some parts are undeniably amusing—as when they break out into bobbleheaded typewriter characters from New York—others are very hard to follow, and the piece as a whole lacks a proper narrative. The possibilities of the imagination may have been used to create the show, but for those watching it’s more like trying to understand someone else’s dream or a particularly insistent three year old—wacky, but not that intelligible or important to you. We’re not able to get a handle on any of the characters since they are constantly changing, so even when they’re acting out tragedy, love, or other scenes that are supposed to evoke our compassion, it’s hard to summon up the right emotion.

This is an amateur performance that has some potential, but won’t blow anyone away. Instead, we are left wondering how much paper must be used in this production every day. 

Reviews by Fiona Mossman

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Paper has always been present throughout our lifetime. It’s the tool to preserve our history, and the instrument to document our future. Journey through the years gone by, where we will make paper and physical theatre combine. Join GLJ Theatre as they recall key moments in our world’s history, from the Queen’s coronation, to the devastating days of war that attacked our nations, all through the use of paper. Yes, our whole show is told through paper – folding, cutting and scrunching – it’s amazing how you can tell a good story. That’s it, Plain as Paper...