Andrew Rosendorf's play Paper Cut is about an American soldier Kyle (Callum Mardy), on deployment in Afghanistan who is gay and trying to keep that a secret.
An IED puts a sudden end to his active service and career, and we then see him coming to terms with that, his life-changing injuries and his sexuality.
The narrative initially flicks back and forth between his time in Afghanistan and life afterwards. It's a bit slow to start, drip-feeding details of Kyle's past, his relationship with his brother Jack (Joe Bollard), his late army-vet father and his developing friendship with fellow soldier Chuck (Prince Kundai).
It picks up pace as more is revealed about his past actions and experiences, adding context and extra weight to the challenges he faces once outside the army.
Light relief comes in the form of dorky Harry (Tobie Donovan), who was at school with Kyle and still harbours a crush on him. Harry has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth, blundering around verbally with amusing consequences.
This is a play about accepting and acceptance. It explores the sense of self and purpose when identity is tied up with a now-ended career and hidden sexuality.
Pacing issues aside the cast is good all around, drawing out the humour as well as some moving moments. I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and half.
Paper Cut, Park Theatre
Written by Andrew Rosendorf
Directed by Scott Hurran
Starring: Callum Mardy, Prince Kundai, Joe Bollard and Tobie Donovan
Running time: 90 minutes without an interval
Booking until 1 July; for more information and to buy tickets, visit the Park Theatre website.
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