Road Trip: Comedians to deliver their take on the Manning

Comedians Damian Callinan and Mickey D, pictured on Tuesday in Manning Street, have been in town the past few days and are ready to present their findings in their comedy show, Road Trip, tonight at the Manning Entertainment Centre.
Comedians Damian Callinan and Mickey D, pictured on Tuesday in Manning Street, have been in town the past few days and are ready to present their findings in their comedy show, Road Trip, tonight at the Manning Entertainment Centre.

SOMETHING very special is happening at the Manning Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night (July 2).

In a show unlike any other, two stand-up comedians, Damian Callinan and Mickey D have brought their Road Trip tour to town and are ready to shine a spotlight on and celebrate the Manning Valley in their own unique way.

They arrived in town on Monday afternoon and since then have participated in a dance night with a local rock'n'roll group, planned to meet with a Wingham local who spotted a Yowie in the area a few years ago, donned their high-vis vests and vox popped locals with some tongue-in-cheek ways to develop our "civic heart" and much more.

Damian describes the show as a "one-off time capsule".

"It's the only time people can see it and people talk about their town that way. People also get to see themselves played back.

"We often get inundated with people on Facebook who say they didn't know about a show and want to see one of the recorded sketches."

Mickey invites the community to come out and see Taree be celebrated.

"We're not here to rip the mickey out of it. We're showing the fine and not so fine things in a loving and comedic way," he said.

Damian and Mickey are being followed around by some cameramen to film skits that will feature in the show itself, but also make up part of a documentary about their Road Trip tour.

The boys have immersed themselves in the Manning during their short visit and connected with community members throughout their stay.

They've been on the road for the past six weeks and in each town they visit they like to vox pop the locals about one of the local issues and create a sketch that will be played during the show.

Coming off the back of front page stories in the Manning River Times about the community push to create a civic heart for Taree, they have come out in their high visibility vests, carrying clipboards, and calling themselves the Callinan and Dwyer Space Shakers (a play on world-renowned placemaker David Engwicht) and asking people's opinions on some of their ideas for the area.

How about forming a human possum bridge? Or creating a Narnia theme at Centerpoint Arcade where customers pass through shops via wardrobe doors? Then there's the far out idea of freezing part of the Manning River to create an ice rink.

The comics are also addressing the lack of nightclubs in the area (an issue raised by surveys submitted online to give them a headstart on ideas while in town).

"We don't want to give all our jokes away but we will be doing a pop-up and creating a solution," hinted Damian.

Challenges have also been thrown their way, including one to drink a coffee at every cafe in Taree and another to run the stairs at Ellenborough Falls.

Their plan was to combine the two and the resulting filmed sketch will be ready for the audience.

And while they arrive in town with a list of ideas, sometimes they come across something quite by accident that can lead to a fun experience.

This happened on Monday night when they visited the Taree Leagues and Sports Club and came across a rock'n'roll group having a get together.

They were allowed to start filming and join in.

Because he can pick things up easily, Damian took on the dancer role, while Mickey took on the "distracted and out of depth" persona.

Mickey said one of the great things about working as a team is that they can change roles and explore different angles and change the dynamics - a flexibility that you don't have when you're working solo.

On Tuesday morning they were up early for interviews with 2RE, Max FM and the Manning River Times before heading out for some more filming, including a meeting with Fay Burke, who tells of seeing a yowie in the Wingham area a couple of years ago and a visit to the Wingham Historical Museum.

Their schedule upon arrival in a town is to open their folder (a result of the online survey locals filled in) and sift through their leads and make a master list of things they would like to cover.

The next day they spend filming and then the second day they spend time crunching it all, ready for the show.

"When we've finished, we wake up the next morning and head on to the next town," said Damian.

And while it could feel very "groundhog day", the fact is that each town is very different and the help they get is different.

The tour came about after Damian and Mickey worked together.

"We're both stand-ups and we like doing local material because it really resonates with the audience," said Damian.

"We decided we wanted to play a whole show like that."

"We've put a camera into the mix because there's only so much regular telling you can do."

It's all about community engagement and finding something that resonates with the community.

Manning audiences should be familiar with their work.

Damian performed at the Manning Entertainment Centre only last year for the 'The Complete Works of Shakespeare - Abridged' and they have both been here previously with the Melbourne International Comedy Roadshow

They hope the community will come out and see the show.

"It's very interactive and we encourage people to get involved. It's your town so if you disagree, yell out.

"We're not encouraging heckling but we are encouraging participation," said Damian.

Road Trip is on at the Manning Entertainment Centre on Wednesday, July 2, at 8pm.

Tickets are available through the Greater Taree City Council website, Movies Games and More in Victoria Street, Taree and at the door.


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