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Review: Garry Starr Performs Everything at Brisbane Comedy Festival

By Josie Montano

Theatre is dying, who will save it? Apparently Garry Starr will, a character created by the very talented Damien Warren-Smith who will “perform everything”. And he certainly did perform everything on his opening night at the Brisbane Powerhouse for the Brisbane Comedy Festival.

The show opens as Garry Starr steps onto the stage, rising like a phoenix from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ashes and still wearing the ruff around his neck. The disgraced thespian explains his rationale behind the evening’s performance. Our stage super-hero Garry, is there to save every genre of theatre possible from disappearing into a dramatic vortex, but with only an hour to achieve this challenge, he promises to convey and remind us of the many categories of theatre. With the clock ticking, Starr manages to deliver thirteen individual performances to a variety of theatre genres including comedy, euro-theatre, burlesque, clowning, slapstick, mask theatre, tragedy, and even the Japanese musical drama known as Noh.

The saying goes, ‘Sprinkle Life with a little Silliness’ - Garry disseminated that stage with an abundance of ROTFL folly. He was not unlike my toddler granddaughter, an overactive (or overtired) child who played openly and energetically. He utilised every corner of the stage boards and trod and tripped over all of them ... with the audience lapping up every moment of his endearing energy. With largely a younger audience, yes, there is course language and it is genuinely only suitable for 18 plus, we were 18 thrice and even though the full frontal nude bits made us blush, that adversity was pushed aside as endorphins and all those other feel good hormones flooded in.

Directed by Cal McCrystal and presented by Milke, this cheeky and ballsy (literally and metaphorically) performance is sheer brilliance. Multiple Awards and nominations, such as:- Winner of the 2019 Adelaide, Manchester and Brighton Fringe awards and nominated best newcomer and The Golden Gibbo in the Melb International comedy festival, 2018. You can take your drink in but a warning, be prepared to spurt it out through your nose as the comedy and wit attacks are so thick and fast you don’t know what’s hit you. Congratulations Damien Warren-Smith, you are either a very talented singer, dancer, performer or you are suffering from multiple personalities.

At the end of the hour I was left with a mixture of what was that roller-coaster of crazy antics I just witnessed? And ok ... that was just awesome, and pure genius. After a standing ovation, I realised that Noh theatre is NOT dying, thanks to Garry Starr.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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