Bok Choy Ballroom @ Noodle Palace, Perth Fringe World, Thu 28 Jan.
The Merger is a one man show written and performed by Damian Callinan (Skithouse, Spicks and Specks, Before The Game) who was nominated for Best Comedy at Perth Fringe 2015 for The Lost WW1 Diary.
The small country town of Bodgy Creek and its footy team, the Roosters, are almost up the proverbial creek. The condemned club house and team will either fold or merge with arch rivals – the Hudson’s Flat Cougars. Coach Troy Carrington has a plan… Recruit asylum seekers to play and use grant money to build a new clubhouse.
Callinan’s acting and improv performance is brilliant as he seamlessly slips between characters of the township of Bodgy Creek. The segues from the radio station announcer and “A word from our sponsors” adverts were delightful and funny. The bloke has managed to capture a slice of a regional Australian town and the issues they face by packing them into punchlines and heartfelt dialogue. A few hard truths were spoken; about the decline in rural communities, integration, inclusion and treatment of asylum seekers. Some were harsh, some were irreverent, some could be deemed offensive but it’s told with heartwarming humour. It’s clever comedy.
The Merger earned Callinan his 3rd Barry Award nomination at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and is currently in development to be turned into a feature film in 2016. He was commissioned to write this in 2009 and the show has toured Australia for last seven years. Callinan mentioned at the end of the show that with prospects of the film it may be time to “pull up the stumps on the live show”. So, Perth, this may be his last season here, so go and watch it!