My partner Chad and I were lucky enough to attend multi-talented and multi-award winning comedian, writer and actor Damian Callinan's sold-out performance of The Merger on Sunday, 24th February 2019 in The Parlour at Stirling Fringe, as part of the 2019 Adelaide Fringe.
Callinan first premiered The Merger as a one-man stage show at the 2010 Adelaide Fringe and the rest is the stuff of legend, with 2018 seeing The Merger released as a feature film - now touring internationally (most recently at the Glasgow International Film Festival and Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival).
In the movie version, Callinan is limited to playing one character (the main character), Troy Carrington - coach of the beleaguered Bodgy Creek Roosters footy team and former professional AFL football player. The stage show is where Callinan truly shines, masterfully embodying not just one but several of Bodgy Creek's unique and entertaining characters - including the obstinate Bull Barlow (president of Bodgy Creek Roosters Football Club) and inspiring refugee and newly recruited football player Sayyid as they wage battle through the myriad of social issues which arise (with subtle nuances to certain politicians), to bring not just the football club but the township of Bodgy Creek and its people into better circumstances.
Callinan readily improvises and interacts with his audience with some hilarious results - with my partner Chad having a part as a footy player. We're yet to see the movie version (now available on DVD and online) but found Callinan's one-man stage show of The Merger to be an entertaining 75 minute journey full of feel good elements. I observed the audience to be enraptured and in the palms of Callinan's hands the whole way through - true mastery!