Damian Callinan in Swing Man (3.5 Stars)

“A Boogie Woogie Midlife Crisis.”

This is the tagline for Damian Callinan’s show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – Swing Man. He set himself a goal of being able to swing dance by the time he turned 50. When his deadline passed and his goal was still out of reach, Callinan decided to do something about it. So, did he eventually master the art of swing dance by 51? I guess you will have to catch his show to find out!

Swing Man begins with Callinan boogie woogying to some 80s hits, with his moves better than my own. The music is then cut as two voiceovers can be heard. The audience soon discovers 16 year-old Callinan has been captured by aliens, Norma and Frankie. They demand for Callinan to teach them to swing dance.

But don’t worry, they give him 34 years to perfect the craft, as that is how long it will take them to return from a shopping trip. They are even so kind as to gift him a swing partner, played by Jeanne-Clare Storage and Genevieve Wallis.

Callinan cleverly walks the audience back in time to his dance beginnings, and awkward school lessons at 16. He tells us just how he is learning about swing dance: from Swing for Morons broadcasts by Hank and Mindy, and a one minute crash course in swing history. But it is the local dance lessons in Melbourne that transform his moves.

His impersonations of the different personalities in the swing dance classes are hilarious, as he re-enacts some awkward conversations. Finally, Norma and Frankie’s voices are heard once more, and Callinan shows them his skills.

At the end, the audience has the chance to boogie woogie with the Swing Man himself too.

When: 24th March – 16th April 2016 (7:15pm)

Where: The Malthouse Theatre, Southbank

Tickets: $21 – $30

Info: Duration 60 minutes; Suitable 15+

Link: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2016/season/shows/swing-man-damian-callinan