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EDINBURGH 2018 - BWW Review: GARRY STARR PERFORMS EVERYTHINGTheatre, we are informed at the outset of the show, is a dying art. A potentially controversial statement at the Fringe, but luckily for everyone, underappreciated actor Garry Starr is on a mission to save the art form.

Over the course of 60 minutes, he will attempt to perform every single genre of theatre in order to inspire his audience to new-found appreciation and enthusiasm for everything from melodrama to mask work.

Clad in a ruff and very little else, the pretentious Garry (Damien Warren-Smith) certainly proves to be a master of malapropisms, as well as clowning and physical performance as he zips through different styles. He is equally at home leaping across the stage in ballet as he is battering audience members with pool noodles to educate us on slapstick.

While it's intended to be a one-man quest to bring life back to theatre, Garry needs a little bit of help, meaning there is a great deal of audience interaction in this piece - much of it quite involved and full-on. Warren-Smith obviously has a gift for this, as the audience respond unanimously positively, despite some of the strange things they are prevailed upon to take part in.

There are some moments of comic joy here, with his exploration of Shakespearean tragedy a definite favourite. Other moments rely a little too much on the shock value of nudity for my tastes. Nevertheless, by the nature of the show, sketches move along quickly to something else, and Warren-Smith is a genuinely impressive performer with great control and timing.

A piece likely best enjoyed by reasonably knowledgeable theatre fans, Garry Starr Performs Everything was lapped up by the capacity crowd at the Underbelly. Evidently, theatre is in good hands.

Garry Starr Performs Everything is at Underbelly Cowgate until 26 August (not 13).

Photo Credit: Dallas Bland

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