Thursday, 12 April 2018

Garry Starr Performs Everything - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

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   
 

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