Expelled from the Royal Shakespeare Company for 'artistic differences' actor Garry Starr defies his critics by performing every genre of theatre possible.
This delightfully pretentious persona, played to perfection by Damien Warren- Smith presents us with a 'master class’ in acting genres in order to pique the audience interest in theatre, which we all know is on the verge of extinction.
A mincing introduction from Starr features the classic Marcel Marceau “wall” later expanded into oft-opened “doors”. His ultra-mobile face, topped by a froth of curls with a trim beard actually gave him a prototype Shakespearean actor appearance. He wore an exquisite Elizabethan ruff throughout the show. At 6’2’’ his long legs and torso were encased in revealing white tights.
Decrying old style interpretations of The Bard, “Boring, slow, for phallustines”, he lead us on a high speed chase through Hamlet. This was followed by a series of audience involved pieces; a wonderfully funny exploration of Pinter’s theatre of the absurd and an artful, gracefully ridiculous ballet performed in a g string to The Swan.
At this point one wondered how such actively involved participants in the fun could actually be genuine patrons rather than “plants”. I came to the conclusion that the full house was so responsive many of them might well be Fringe performers themselves and willing to go along for the ride. Who knows, but they were certainly co-operative.
After partially slipping into a little black dress, with uninvited assistance, by Edith, from the front row, for Cabaret, the menu of performance delights lead to mask work. The Noh and Bhutto schools were explored in dramatic dance sequences, again assisted by Edith on a small drum!
A slapstick segment drew a further four audience members into onstage shenanigans with pool tube weapons.
The New European revolutionary theatre movement demonstrated classics such as The Three Sisters, Hedda Gabler and a Kafka work – “stripped back to basics, but not at all pretentious.”
From there, Starr bounced via an extended Romeo and Juliet, into his excruciatingly amusing take on “Circus Nooveau”. Here he demonstrated skills far more complex and clever than his already viewed skilled mime and supple moves. Unbelievable acrobatics performed on a small frame defied belief. The faux “out-of-control” facial expressions magnified the effect.
It is easy to see why Warren-Smith has already received so many world-wide Fringe nominations and prizes. From the word go the audience was voluble in its appreciation of this witty, character invention.
Warren-Smith is a multi-talented performer, this slick professional show sets a blistering pace, and is, above all, absolutely huge fun.
2019 Fringe World Festival presents
Garry Starr Performs Everything
Directed by Cal McCrystal
Venue: The Blue Room | 53 James Street, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge, WA
Dates: 29 January – 2 February 2019
Venue: Funtavia | 189, Marine Terrace, Geraldton, WA
Dates: 8 – 9 February 2019