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Bit parts: Garry Starr Performs Everything @swkplay

Garry Starr Performs Everything is a bare-bones (and bare buttocks) tribute to the theatre. Theatre may be in trouble, and audiences are down, but Garry Starr aims to save the theatre and bring back to the masses every style of theatre possible. As long as each style involves wearing a transparent white leotard or a skimpy thong. And tassels. It's part comedy, part physical comedy and part perv at Gary's physical prowess. The sentiment "if you've got it, flaunt it" applies here. So here we are with a show that has been around for some years and is having its first proper London run at the Southwark Playhouse (Borough) through Christmas. The premise is that Garry Starr (played by Damien Warren-Smith) has left the Royal Shakespeare Company over artistic differences. He is now on a mission to save the theatre from misrepresentation and worthy interpretations by doing things such as a two-minute Hamlet, recreating scenes from a Pinter play using unsuspecting audience
Travel: Things to do in Lyon

With the Lyon City Card you get free entry to many museums and galleries in Lyon. So over two days:
  • I saw Musée des Beaux Arts - great exhibition of art and antiquities and there wasn't the crowds so you could enjoy the Picassos and Reniors and Manets without fighting your way through the crowds. Of course this was Sunday morning the morning after the big football celebration that took place outside its doors so maybe people were a little tired.
  • Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine, which is next to the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre. Lyon was the centre of Gallic Roman Empire so there was plenty of ruins, mosaics and artefacts on display. I later caught a rehearsal at the amphitheatre for a play that was opening this week...
  • Musée Des Tissues and Musée des Arts Decoratifs. This was a quick Sunday trip but was well worth it to see (among other things) Napoleon and Josephine's bed that they used when they were in Lyon. The woman at the door was very helpful and didn't want me to leave even though I was running late to see the Musée des Beaux Arts before the Opera. I suspected it was in part because I was the only solo male here in a sea of women and the occasional husband dragged kicking and screaming. The collection reminded me of the V&A collection but on a smaller and distinctly French flavour.
  • Musée Lumiere which was on the site of the Lumiere Brothers factory and housed in the gorgeous art nouveau villa they lived in.
Travel: Theatre in Lyon

Saturday night's jazz concert was sold out so I went to Sunday afternoon's opera at the Opera National de Lyon which was Leos Janacek's "The Makropoulos Case". It was just as well. I was not familiar with Janacek's work but the music was so rich and dramatic that it is easy to become a fan overnight. The central role of a 300 year woman (its opera, don't ask) is also such a fantastic role for a strong dramatic soprano and Anja Silja didn't disappoint... Having played it at Glyndebourne and other places previously her performance drew a 10 minute applause.

The opera house itself is an interesting creation as well. Irenovatedovated in the early nineties and has a modern black and red and stainless steel interior while keeping the old facade of a much earlier structure. The all black can be a bit jarring at times (especially in the mens room as you don't quite know what you are looking at or walking into) but it is so French.

Travel: Eating in Lyon - Bouchons

But it wasn't all museums and arts... In between one has to eat and so I went to a couple of Bouchons while I was there. They provide set menu of gorgeousorgous things to eat and washed down with a Bordeaux or Beaujolais (from just up the road) it is a sensible dining experience.

The second night I went to a gay one, and after a long walk in the Parc de la Tete D'or, an opera and all those museums I was a little too exhausted to pronounce French in any comprehensible way. The chef took pity on me and (fortunately) spoke English very well. After the meal he grabbed my arm rather forcibly and told me, "I am sorry that I was so busy I didn't have time to talk to you." I told him that was okay but started to think... "hmm that was a strong and very intensive grip for somebody who is quite attractive". He looked me in the eye and told me that he wasn't French but Croatian and that I should go there as I would like it. I started to wonder if it wasn't such a busy night and if he wasn't working the place alone just what would my dining experience have ended up being at 23:20 as I began to leave... Oh well...

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