Fresh from his Adelaide Fringe Emerging Artist Weekly Award win, Damien Warren-Smith brings his first solo show, Garry Starr Performs Everything, to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Dismissed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the jaded thespian is determined to show them the error of their ways and attempts to perform every single genre of theatre in under 50 minutes.
The audience is forced to endure watching Starr perform a variety of
theatrical and live performance genres, ranging from butoh to slap stick comedy
to ballet. His modernisation of Shakespeare during his tragedy genre is a
tragedy in itself, but it is perfectly executed by Warren-Smith and hearing the
laughter in the audience grow as they recognise what is happening, with Warren-Smith
remaining as straight-faced as they come, is pure joy.
Warren-Smith finds the fun in playing Starr and bringing out
his pretentious and patronising attitude, but then immediately having him
ignorantly mispronounce words. His frustrations when the audience don’t
understand “fancy” theatrical language and inability to follow direction is
very entertaining to watch unfold.
However, it’s not just the performance that is working to
keep theatre alive, as Starr claims he is doing. The perfectly matched music
and the lighting design firmly establish the genre being performed before Starr
even appears on stage. The lighting particularly works well in altering the
size and depth of the stage, which Warren-Smith makes full use of.
Audience members play an active role in the show, from throwing
grapes at Starr to playing some instruments and even joining him on stage for some
performance time. While most people fear being taken on stage in front of a
roomful of strangers, Warren-Smith works the room well in creating a welcoming environment
and ensuring his participants are made to look good.
While Starr might have a very high opinion of himself, where despite his lack of skills, believes he is the actor that everybody aspires to be,
Warren-Smith delivers a smashing performance that leaves the entire room cheering for an
encore. If only being so bad was always this bloody amazing.
Click here for my interview with Damien Warren-Smith.
Venue: Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank
Season: until 22 April | Tues - Sat 6.00pm, Sun 5:00pm
Length: 50 minutes
Tickets: $25 Full | $22 Conc |$20 Tightarse Tuesday
Bookings: MICF website