Starr is a bag of nervous insecurity, wrapped up in a paper thin façade of theatrical overconfidence. Featuring an Elizabethan ruffle and often very little else, Garry Starr is one of the most perfectly pitched comedy characters you’ll see at the Fringe this year. As he endeavours to achieve his lofty goal of saving theatre, he takes the crowd on a riotous journey through a long list of dramatic forms.
Garry Starr is one of the most perfectly pitched comedy characters you’ll see at the Fringe
What ensues is a set that has more highlights than an episode of Celebrity Scissorhands. Amongst the standouts are a slapstick session which descends into chaotic violence; a tragic scene which puts the Spears into Shakespeare; and a spaghetti-heavy romantic piece which feeds the hearts and stomachs of audience members. I could go on, but feel special praise has to be awarded to his modern masked theatre segment - a section which may alienate some, but was ultimately hilarious. Great actors bare their souls. Starr goes one better.
This high-flying thesp is the creation of Australian comic Damian Warren-Smith. The École Philippe Gaulier graduate has packed his show with clowning, physical humour and perfectly pitched comic riffs on a whole range of theatrical institutions. It’s not entirely a one man performance either, with the comedian often drawing on audience members for support. These interactions sometimes ask a lot of the audience members, but they are always good natured and managed expertly by Starr.
Theatre buffs will be in heaven watching Garry Starr save theatre, but there is more than enough riotous material to ensure consistently big laughs for all. The apparently ailing medium of theatre might not quite be in the dire state that Starr claims, but he certainly is an electrifying shot in the arm for comedy and an incredibly entertaining act.