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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

Opera: Cendrillon

Cendrillon at the Royal Opera looks great and has a great cast. Joyce DiDonato in the title role is a delight as the strong willed Cinderella. Eglise Gutiérrez as the fairy godmother looks like she would be as much at home on the stage of Priscilla Queen of the Desert as she would at Covent Garden (although she sounded a lot better of course)... She looks like she is having fun waving her wand and watching the magic unfold...

Alas the opera is heavy going for a fairy tale. Part of the problem is that telling the story of Cinderella for three hours requires some memorable music and some frightfully comedy. The direction is somewhat inspired and wrestles out as much comedy as is probably possible. This includes a very wicked Ewa Podles as stepmother. But what is left is a piece that could do with some merciless editing, and perhaps removing a subplot, trimming an aria (or two) and one of the ballet sequences... That would probably make it not just family friendly, but friendly to everyone...

It is also rather brave to stage a show in the summer in this country called Cinderella. I've noticed that people tend to insist (although less so for Rossini's La Cenerentola) that anything called "Cinderella" just has to be a panto and will stubbornly refuse to attend unless it is around Christmas... But it would still make a sensible evening out... There is also a BP Summer Screens presentation of it on the 13 July, so there is a chance to try it before you buy it completely too...

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