The Merger | Damian CallinanTen year old documentary filmmaker Neil is determined to capture the saga of the Bodgy Creek Roosters for posterity. It is his second documentary. When he grows up he wants to be a film maker.

The Roosters are in dire straits. The team has no money, not enough players and the club rooms have just been condemned due to asbestos. It seems the only way out is a merger with arch enemies Hudson’s Flat.

Damian Callinan slips skilfully between the cast of Bodgy Creek characters from Bull Barlow the club president with a prostate complaint (again), to Shakepeare quoting coach Troy Carrington

At first I wasn’t sure about the sock puppets Goober and Snapper, but the audience loved them. The device of the transistor radio on stage interpolating the dialogue of the various characters was brilliant. The announcer at Bodgy Creek Community Radio Station was delightfully inept and the various country style advertisements “from our sponsors” were hilarious.

Coach Troy Carrington, returns from the Copenhagen Climate Change summit, with a cunningly clever plan to bring asylum seekers to the team, recruiting them new players and grant money to rebuild the club house. The virtual tour of the new clubrooms with features such as a prayer room and a minaret atop the scoreboard is a treat. Afghani refugee Said turns out to be a game changer for the Roosters. They make it to the final for the first time in 33 years.

Callinan’s performance is, as always, terrific, He has written a densely packed show with loads of funny asides. There is audience participation but it never gets too threatening and he is adept at remembering names and referring back to those audience members. My one criticism of the opening night show was, on occasion, Callinan spoke so quickly we missed the line.

There are poignant moments as you would expect dealing with issues about social inclusion in Australia, the decline of rural communities and the treatment of asylum seekers.

This is a warm, irreverently funny and affectionate tribute to the people who live in a small country towns like Bodgy Creek.

2016 Fringe World Festival
The Merger
Damian Callinan

Venue: Bok Choy Ballroom @ Noodle Palace
Dates: 27 January  – 6 February 2016
Tickets: $30.00

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