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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

Petty theft and other austerity measures: Spine @SohoTheatre

Spine, which is playing at the Soho Theatre until 2 November is a fascinating piece that looks into  the importance of knowledge in the age of apathy.

Written by Clara Brennan, it takes you on an unexpected journey. What starts out as a story of (potentially predictable) rebellious and troubled teenager builds to make some wry observations about generational divides, the loss of political leadership in modern Britain and the apathy of people, particularly in London, over things that were once valued. 
Funny and bittersweet, it is a powerhouse performance by Rosie Wyatt. She brings together two very different characters - the troubled and petty criminal teenager, and the elderly widow - in an emotional and at times explosive performance.

Over the piece, the characters bond over stories of petty theft and a large collection of books that the old woman has amassed in her house in Willesden.

Wyatt's intense performance won her a Stage Award for Acting Excellence for her performance of the piece in Edinburgh and it is easy to see why.

Even when she broke away from the script to tell someone in the audience to "get off (their) fucking phone, love", you half expected that if that person didn't obey she was going to beat the living daylights out of the recalcitrant. In character. 

From production company, Foolscap was set up in 2014 by Francesca Moody, Bethany Pitts and Clara Brennan to craft politically conscious new work with storytelling at its heart.

Foolscap are about galvanising audiences, through a combination of grit, wit and great theatre. You will be rushing out to your local library (if it isn't already closed and boarded up) to renew your library membership after seeing it.

Don't miss it. And put your phone on silent and out of sight.


Photo credits: Edinburgh production by Richard Davenport

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