Sunday, 7 April 2019

Melbourne Comedy Festival – Garry Starr Conquers Troy

Garry Starr Conquers Troy
at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Last year, Garry Starr explored every genre of theatre in order to try to save it. Now that he’s saved theatre, he wants to make sure actors out there know how to be the best skilled actor (or, skactor) they can be. Garry has written a book called “An Actor Pretends” about the history of pretendism.

Chapter by chapter, Garry’s vast knowledge of being a triple threat is explored on stage in front of our very eyes. He explains how to audition for a director when you’re waiting on them in a restaurant. He tells us how to act when we inevitably move to Hollywood and get botox and we can’t move our face. And then there’s his unconventional method for learning lines by osmosis.

Rubber-faced actor and comedian Damien Warren-Smith is so damn charismatic that he’ll have you on his side within minutes – and have some of you up on stage as part of Team Garry, if you dare. If you don’t want to participate, don’t sit in the front row like I did; though my moment in the spotlight only consisted of staring Garry in the eye and telling him to relax.

Just as with his first show “Performs Everything,” there’s a good mix of humour throughout – slapstick, wordplay/puns (“Athena?” “Where did you thee her?”) and some delightful sitcom theme song parodies that bring ancient Greek tragedies into modern day. And hopefully you get an audience as willing as the one I saw the show with, where Garry plucked out a professional xylophonist and a woman who shouted at him “WHY DID YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE A COMEDIAN?” It induced real acting tears.

Garry may not perform everything this time, but the stuff he does perform is delightfully ridiculous. A guaranteed laugh-a-minute hour of joy.

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