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That Garry Starr guy really knows his theatre
Overall review: ★★★★★ Date attended: 19/02/2019
Call 000, because theatre is dying! But fret not, for our Lord and Saviour Garry Starr is back in Adelaide for this year's Fringe festival to show us all how to bring it back to life!
With the hopes of reviving the dying art of theatre after a terrible falling out with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Starr takes it upon himself to show us the true form of theatre, thanks to his impeccable ability to perform as many genres as possible in the span of one glorious hour. Starr leaves no stone unturned, as he furiously and fiercely personifies each character to its prime, by focusing on capturing the essence of the different forms of theatre.
Kicking off the show, Starr rocks his wild, fuzzy hair, as he is dressed in a leather crop jacket, revealing skin tights, and an Elizabethan ruff, but as the show progresses, I promise you that he eventually sheds them all off to reveal his purest, most vulnerable, and prime form of a man, who is determined to do justice to theatre. And he is not afraid, by any means, to show everyone he's got the balls (literally and metaphorically speaking) to attempt every possible form of theatre that is out there!
Two particular personal favourites from the show would include the Shakespeare speech and the romantic comedy segment. When you think of theatre, your mind would perhaps go to Shakespeare's works, which we all know can be quite... detailed and long to read / perform / get through. Not for Starr, who reenacted the Hamlet rogue-and-peasant-slave speech in a matter of seconds. His delivery of the speech was exquisite, acting like a tape recorder that was being fast forwarded, but only slowing down momentarily to highlight key phrases, so audiences would know how far he got through the speech in what seemed to be a race against time. Similarly, for someone who isn't heaps into romantic comedy, I found Starr's rendition of it rather alluring. Sharing spaghetti with a stranger by the string (and having someone come up and take on that challenge) is a bold move and while it took a bit for audience members to muster up the courage to be a part of this intimate piece, it was well worth the wait!
You know how they say that the real actors are the kind who can "bare their souls" to the audience? Well, Starr takes it one step further. It can be confronting, but it is hilarious and authentic beyond belief and Starr knows exactly how to balance those elements with poise. Skimpily dressed to represent the rawness of theatre at its finest, people in the front row (in particular) can find themselves seeing all of Starr (this is not an exaggeration), but he owns his acts, as he performs everything from burlesque to contemporary dance to slapstick to romantic comedy to clowning to musical theatre to physical theatre to Japanese mask theatre. And those are just the ones that I remember vividly, but I know for a fact that he did plenty more!
No matter what the size of the audience, you can expect to be called on stage and made to do something stupidly simple, but it is the kind of participation that would make everyone in the room feel immersed fully in the show. While there were a couple of hecklers at the show that I attended, Starr effortlessly warded them off with his charm and naughty smile, as he embodied the persona and reflected it in a natural manner.
It is important to recognize and appreciate the sheer skill and exuberance possessed by Starr. Through all the silliness, Starr is able to illustrate how versatile and competent he is in literally everything that he says, does, and performs. To say he is impressive at best would not be saying enough. The show is fast-paced, tightly knit, and perfectly strung to create an hour of pure, unadulterated, unconventional, and just simply f**king good theatre! Starr's alter egos have a brilliant poker face to resonate with their performances and while you may never be able to unsee some of the stuff that you witness at his show, you will be low-key admiring his level of dedication and passion towards pushing the boundaries, making you reach out of your comfort zone, and truly experience theatre for what it was designed to be.
This was the first show at the Adelaide Fringe this year (and probably in my lifetime) that had me in tears from start to finish - to the point where I'm pretty sure I may have had a life-threatening laughing fit that no one seemed to pick. This show is ridiculously entertaining and I can assure you to leave the show getting to know Starr on a whole new level.
Garry Starr Performs Everything is currently playing at The Campanile at the Garden of Unearthly Delights, as part of Adelaide Fringe till March 3. Book your tix here.