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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

Essential music: Life of the Party @MenChocFactory

For the next couple of weeks, The Life of the Party - A Celebration of the Songs of Andrew Lippa, is playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory. For anyone with the slightest interest in new musical theatre this is a show not to miss.

While Andrew Lippa's shows have not had big West End or Fringe productions (yet), the evening is an opportunity to savour the best of all of them.  

He is joined by Caroline O'Connor, Damian Humbley and Summer Strallen, and it is an opportunity to hear and appreciate his songs, in a more intimate setting and savour the music and intricate lyrics.

The evening ranges from quiet reflection to rolling in the aisles hilarity. But each of the songs are delivered with passion and inventiveness. Over the course of the evening you also get the chance to see Summer Strallen in a dominatrix outfit and Caroline O'Connor playing a jaded lesbian in the show stopping "Old Fashioned Love Story" from The Wild Party.

Lippa's shows include John & Jen, The Wild Party, The Addams Family and Big Fish. There is also an excerpt from his new oratorio I Am Harvey Milk, which was premiered by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.

It also seemed quaint for the Spotify / digital download era we live in, but for anyone that still has such a wonderful contraption for playing music, he signs his CDs after the show as well...

A clip from YouTube where he performs his opening song "Mashall Levin" (albeit in less snazzy attire than at the Menier). The show runs until 14 June.


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