Paper Cut ★★★ Park Theatre | Jun 7 - Jul 1, 2023

In this moving work from writer Andrew Rosendorf, an American soldier who has been injured in the Afghanistan war returns home and tries to come to terms with his past and his present. Kyle, played by Callum Mardy, must deal not only with his injury, but also with his sexuality and the estrangement from his twin brother, Jack (Joe Bollard). Also figuring in the story is the brothers' domineering and patriotic father who fought in the Gulf War. The effect of American military ventures on an ordinary family seems to be one of the central points of the narrative. However, it is somewhat lost in the very multiplicity of concerns and relationships being dealt with. There is so much material here that it is not always clear what the central focus is. In fact, the issue of Kyle's falling out with his brother and their father's unquestioning patriotic influence on them could be sufficient subject matter in itself. Indeed, Kyle's statement at the end of the play that he would do it all again raises more questions than answers. The title, which in the narrative is used as an ironic dismissal of the significance of Kyle's struggles and trauma, almost applies to the work itself. Paper Cut raises a great many complex questions, but ultimately it only seems to scratch the surface, leaving one unclear about its intentions. The wounds presented here are deep and various, but their treatment seems somewhat perfunctory. Such qualifications aside however, Paper Cut is a powerful and emotive piece that challenges its audience to face some harsh realities.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Stefan Hanegraaf.

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