Damien Warren-Smith talks about doing acrobatics in a g-string at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Damien Warren-Smith
Name of Edinburgh show: Garry Starr Performs Everything
Venue: Underbelly Cowgate
Performance time: 8:10pm
Show length: 50mins
Ticket price: £11

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I was born in Inverness to an English father and Australian mother then grew up in rural Australia. Following drama school I moved back to the UK and worked as a theatre actor and deviser for around 12 years before retraining as a clown. Now I make comedy shows which are very theatrical but completely ridiculous.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
I play a failed Shakespearean actor who takes it upon himself to save theatre by performing every single genre in under an hour in the slightly misguided belief that this will somehow save the performing arts.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I began working on the character in 2015 but only got together with my director Cal McCrystal in December last year. I’d like to say it’s particularly relevant to audiences in 2018 but I don’t really know how. Perhaps in a decade it will be just as relevant.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Not drinking is my top tip as a performer. That and taking a dog for a walk. Anyone’s dog. Don’t even ask.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I was playing a surfer in a play at Hull Truck (the old Spring Street venue before they knocked it down and built the fancy one) and I was pretending to surf, standing on an actual board, and when I jumped up I farted. Not sure if anyone heard it but the smell was horrific. It wasn’t my fault! The director had asked me to keep fit for the role so I was going to the gym and drinking protein and that stuff messes with your digestive system.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
New Zealand clown, Trygve Wakenshaw: because he’s a joy to watch and doesn’t eat animals. International comedy and physical theatre company, Spymonkey: because they are completely absurd and may or may not eat animals (I don’t know them well enough to ask).

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I clean myself thoroughly with wet wipes (I do acrobatics in a white g-string).

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Yummy, The Travelling Sisters, Andrea Spisto.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
It may very well be the funniest thing you’ll ever see. Plus I get naked.

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