Selfless to a fault, Garry Starr is ready to share the lessons he’s learned about the actors’ craft, the art of pretending. Whilst the practical value of these lessons to jobbing young actors is debatable, what isn’t in question is how funny this show is. Starr’s creator Damien Warren-Smith presents a hilarious hour of expertly crafted character comedy.
A physical performer of the highest calibre, the comedian covers not only the whole stage tirelessly, but also the audience
Last year Starr performed everything; this year he performs a lot. Using chapters from his soon to be written book An Actor Pretends for structure, he runs through lessons such as how to impress dining casting agents with martinis, and uncovers the dubiously drug-fuelled origin of method acting.
As the title suggests, Greek mythology is a running theme. As well as educational songs, the character reaches back into the Starr family history and plucks out a significant but less than salubrious episode from the days of ancient Greece. Each segment displays the silliness, pomposity and foolishness of Starr, with a smartness which is at odds with the character’s gentle idiocy and frequent mispronunciations.
There are big laughs throughout the show, and Warren-Smith works for every one of them. A physical performer of the highest calibre, the comedian not only covers the whole stage tirelessly, but also clambers through the crowd in a segment which is about in-your-face as comedy gets. Prudes beware.
This audience interaction is a clear strength of the show. Warren-Smith is an engaging performer, and although he may not quite conquer Troy (he struggles enough to conquer a roll of cling-film), he has little difficulty winning over a crowd. There’s a great feeling of fun throughout and although the songs are often more entertaining than hilarious, and the mispronunciation is played a little bit too much, the whole show is terrific.
Garry Starr, via his creator Damien Warren-Smith, is undoubtedly the real deal. If you like theatre, Greek mythology, or just laughing in general then go and see him. You’ll be in for a treat.