My husband and I went to see The Merger last night, a one-man show about the Bodgy Creek football club, who decide to recruit refugees to their team in order to save it from being closed down. I already knew Damian Callinan was funny; he’s my brother-in-law-to-be, and Christmases have been far more entertaining since he joined the family. I hadn’t realised how well he could write, though, or how well he could act; in The Merger, he plays at least 6 characters, including a 10-year-old boy and an Afghani man, and though he switches between them often, mostly without even a costume change, you always know exactly who he is.
The characters are hilarious (I’m pretty sure the woman next to me wet her pants), but the story’s quite moving (and timely, with the second season of Go Back finishing so recently on SBS, and the first group of asylum seekers arriving in Nauru only last week). I cried laughing and I cried crying, and I’m still in awe of the fact that one guy with no set and only a few props could keep us so enthralled for an hour and a half. I googled synonyms for ‘brilliant’ before I started writing this review because superlatives aren’t my strong suit and I knew I’d be needing a few, but ‘au fait’, ‘masterly’ and ‘up to snuff’ are too dull. I can wholeheartedly (and unbiasedly, I promise!) say this show is really, really, really good. Excellent, even. Superlative! And, if you get the chance, you should go see it. According to Damian’s website, “Tickets for the limited season of 'The Merger' are selling like insufficiently discounted, 3 day old bread,” so get in... quick?
The Merger scores 27 ½ potatoes out of 10.