Review: The Letter

Classic clowning, A hilarious show with universal appeal

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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The Letter
Photo by G Zucca
Published 16 Aug 2019

Alone on stage with a handful of props, Paolo Nani has never looked so at home. His charisma is undeniable. The Letter is a series of repeated scenes in which Nani finds different ways to do the same thing. At the start of each version, Nani flashes a cue card at the audience provoking anticipatory gasps at trickier concepts. Nani has been performing The Letter since 1992 and performs the same scene 15 times each show. You can imagine then that he’s gotten pretty good at it.

Performing these different interruptions is a bold idea and this is the brilliance of Nani, whose talent makes it look easy and effortless. In one iteration he performs backwards, another drunk, each time trying something new. Although some versions work better than others, the crowd supports Nani regardless. His rough and slobbery appearance can quickly transform him into any number of characters from any number of genres. Every version is a mini-movie. His comedy timing is impeccable, his instincts well honed.

Italian born, Nani has a universal appeal that breaks through all language barriers. The ability to hold a room's attention, let alone make them laugh, is a wonderful thing. It's an impressive feat to have an audience range from young children to senior citizens, all laughing together.