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Review: Damian Callinan Double Feature at The Kingfisher

As with most shows I review, I refuse to do any research before enjoying the performance in the moment.

And boy was I glad I came into this one cold.

Damian Callinan, award winning actor, writer and comedian has a surprise discovery of his mother’s 1946 diary, filled with tid-bits of her every day; work life, volunteer commitments with wounded servicemen, church activities and her wild social frolics.

However, through this journey of unmasking and revelation, more questions are raised than answered, so we go on a cinematic voyage with Callinan, as he turns his mother’s diary, as well as his father’s retirement journal into a double feature of love and loss, with his parents as the stars of the show.

We play the part of the test audience – and his family all have special roles in the making of the ‘film’.

Great nieces and nephews [who bear a striking resemblance to Damian’s mother – the genes are strong in this family] are the storyboarders, makeup artists and boom operators. A lovely inclusion that demonstrates the closeness and love Callinan has for his family.

We begin on a Friday evening in February, 1946 with a girls night out, and we are introduced to one of many young suitors for 19 year old Kathleen Purcell.

This forms the basis of ‘The Kathleen Stakes’ – where each time a paramour is mentioned his stakes are either increased or decreased depending on the situation at hand.

The comedic entr’actes, which follows the retirement journal of Callinan’s father, is interwoven with the life Kathleen led before meeting her husband.

An emotional and heavy turn of events was lightened by Callinan’s innate ability to intertwine humour and heart. His unique storytelling talents were beautiful to watch and be part of.

Having lost my dad recently, this returned feelings of grief and sorrow, and reminded me that in times of sadness, there is still room for wit – as this is a helpful tool to process the anguish at hand.

Such a unique show, told with pure courage and spirit, and a smattering of laughs, this is one to bring your parents to, and enjoy a heart-warming night out.

Time to turn this one into a hit film, Callinan…

4.5 stars


Lia Loves.


Lia Loves
Lia Loves
Theatre. Dance. Culture. Events. Follow her adventures as Adelaide's premier theatre buff, arts contributor, educator and ambassador!

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