As someone who has dabbled in the mystic arts of acting, I was a little sceptical about seeing a show that promised to rescue the performing arts from its inevitable extinction. And when the performance opened with Garry Starr emerging dressed in white tights that didn’t leave much to the imagination, a leather jacket and two frilled neck ruffs, my scepticism heightened. However, from the moment Garry Starr (also known as Damien Warren-Smith in real life) began his performance, I laughed and laughed and laughed almost non-stop for the whole hour.
This is Garry’s second outing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, having previously starred in the award-winning Garry Starr Performs Everything. This triumphant return to the MICF shows just how much talent he has. Garry Starr Conquers Troy takes the audience through the steps of how to be a successful actor as outlined in Garry’s new not-quite-real book Garry’s Way: How to do Good Acting.
The show ranges from the hilarious to the downright anarchistic and demonstrates just how good character comedy can be. With a real focus on engaging the audience, Garry’s hilarious look at the different parts of acting, from doing your own stunts to being a warm prop, from cheap Botox alternatives to crying real human tears, relies on making that connection. I personally particularly enjoyed the rewritten TV theme songs that were used to explain important moments in ancient history. The whole performance builds to a finale that, although slightly surreal, capped off the performance beautifully.
I’ve seen a lot of comedy shows in my time, however this was one of the best. Definitely worth going along to, especially if you are one of those actor-types, for a really good laugh. As Garry says: “Acting was invented by the ancient Greeks. Before that people were just pretending.” So get along to the Malthouse Theatre to see a naturally gifted comedian give a masterclass in pretendism.