Ennio is the original quick-change artist, revolutionising the art of origami into hilarious theatrical magic. This Olivier award-nominated, ‘wickedly funny’ and wildly entertaining show uses ingenious paper costumes, razor-sharp mimicry and split-second timing to create a hilarious whirlwind of popular icons.
Supported by a sizzling soundtrack, in just 60 minutes Ennio magically morphs into parodies of up to 50 popular characters from the world of music, movies, works of art and world leaders.
Characters are as diverse as the Mona Lisa, Marilyn Monroe, Adele, Freddie Mercury, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Elvis, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Justin Bieber, Dolly Parton, Eminem, Bono, The Queen of England, James Bond and many, many more.
Ennio was born in 1960 in the beautiful city of Venice, next door to the house of Carlo Goldoni. The son of an espresso machine repair engineer, everybody expected Ennio to continue the family tradition – except Ennio.
Inspired by the Disney cartoons he watched in his childhood, the modern choreography of Pina Bausch and the spectacular Venetian Carnival, Ennio daydreamed himself into flights of fancy – amusing his family and friends – with visions of Marilyn Monroe dressed in white paper costumes he had handmade in his bedroom.
Throughout the 1980s Ennio continued to make extravagant costumes and masks, eventually performing his very first professional cabaret and winning the prestigious Golden Lion and Mosquito Awards for comedy. It wasn’t until he met his collaborative partner Sosthen Hennekam, a fashion and costume designer from Holland, however, that ‘The Living Paper Cartoon’ was born and the first full-length show was performed.
After a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1990 Ennio quickly became a cult hit and booked multiple sell out tours of the UK, a run in London’s West End and performances at some the greatest festivals across the world. In 1994 Ennio was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment with Granada Television making a one-hour documentary titled ‘Celebrations, Paper Marilyn’ about his life and career.
A year later, Ennio appeared at the first European MTV Music Awards in Berlin, together with several stars who were in his repertoire at the time such as Prince, George Michael and Bjork. Ennio also performed with The Spice Girls, Brian Adams and other artists for HRH Prince Charles at the Royal Variety Show, broadcast for the BBC. For his off-Broadway run in 1999, Ennio was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles followed picking up the Garland Award.
In the summer of 2001 he performed at Elton John’s exclusive ‘White Tie and Tiara Ball’ – an important AIDS benefit held every year at Elton John’s private estate in Oxfordshire. Ennio has since continued his charity work having performed at the esteemed Lifeball in Vienna.
Ennio has performed in over 70 countries worldwide, everywhere from Singapore to China to South Africa to Colombia. His side-splitting performances of our best-loved celebrities and his adaptability to different cultures has brought his show to royal and celebrity attention giving Ennio a huge following and a massive international fan base.
Director and Designer
Born in the Netherlands, Sosthen studied costume and fashion design at the renowned Studio Berçot school in Paris. While still in school, he was asked to become an assistant fashion designer for Thierry Mugler.
In 1989, after having designed several menswear collections, he decided to move to Italy to learn the language and to see other options. By coincidence he came to see an early show of Ennio and was asked to help him out with new costumes for a TV show. He then decided to quit the fashion world and work full time with Ennio.
Together they developed the show into the successtory that has toured the world since. He has received several nominations for his work with Ennio, including a Laurence Olivier Award and a Drama Desk Award. He also won a Backstage Garland Award for costume design.
While working with Ennio, Sosthen became interested into other aspects of theatre, especially lighting design. Since 2009 he has a successful architectural lighting design company called Corte Gherardi, specialised into high-end residential projects but also hotels, museums and art galleries. In 2019 he will design for the 3rd consecutive year the prestigious Amman Design week in Jordan patronised by HRH Queen Rania.
Recently he has received accolades for his work as an architectural photographer. What started as a hobby on Instagram has grown into serious publishing work. He’s currently working on 3 photographic book projects on different architects that will be published in 2020.