In Damian Callinan’s latest MICF offering, he has set himself one goal to achieve before he turns 52: to learn how to swing dance like Frankie Manning or Fred Astaire.
With a little help from an “alien abduction” (and a few mandatory anal-probe gags), Damian is sent back in time to his childhood, taking the audience on his journey to complete this goal.
Throughout this performance, at The Coopers Malthouse (27 March), Damian energetically throws himself around the stage, creating some fairly creatively-staged interactions with past students and past love-interests, all of who are intertwined with this newfound goal to learn how to cut-a-rug with the best of them.
Accompanied occasionally onstage by his dance teacher, we get taken through some of the finer aspects of dancing including the Boogie-woogie, The Charleston, The 4-step, 2-step, 3-step aaaaand the 1 step. Yep, it’s an extremely vigorous show and you’ve gotta give it to Damian: he ain’t a bad dancer.
But here’s the thing: while there were some genuine moments of comedy, they were book-ended fairly frequently with parts that were not. I don’t mean to say that Damian isn’t a good comedian - he’s a bloody fantastic comedian, and he has been such for a long time - it’s just that the execution for this particular show seems a little rushed and some of the scenes were a little tedious and confusing.
A one-man dancing show would be a hell of a hard thing to pull off well (especially if you’re 52), but this just disappointingly missed the mark.
Look, I’m still a fan of Dave, just not really of this particular show.
Damian Callinan performs 'Swing Man' as part of the MICF at The Coopers Malthouse until 16 April.