Monday, 28 September 2009

Tale of the Golden Lease by Vigilantelope ***

Melbourne Fringe Festival
Lithuanian Club, Nth Melbourne,  Sept 27 to Oct 10, 2009
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Has anyone noticed that the Fringe Festival is turning by stealth into another comedy festival? Vigilantelope’s comedy show, Tale of the Golden Lease, has the feel and style of sketch comedy but – wonder of wonders – it has a narrative on which to hang all the gags.

The four men who write and perform the show (Tim McDonald, Pat Miller, Vachel Spirason, Joel Tito) are funny, irreverent and pretty smart. It appears that they may be escapees from the Law Revue (and perhaps the Law Faculty) at Monash.

The story is about two blokes, Dwayne and Rupert, who run a fish and chip shop. Jim Courier, Jehovah’s  galactic envoy, enlists them to find the lost golden lease for the earth. Courier left it on the site of the chip shop 600,000 years ago - give or take a millennium. 

Check your religious-purist self at the door. In Heaven, Jehovah, a smug celebrity with a smarmy, marketing executive turn of phrase, convenes the God Convention. Lucifer is a daggy loser trying hard to win the favour of the other gods. When Lucifer returns to his underworld, his irksome and obsequious imps suggest he hunts down the golden lease so he sends his slavering and stupid Hounds of Hell and Filet, his Master of Disguise (Pronounced “Dis-gweez”).

Meanwhile, Dwayne and Rupert go back in time through wormholes, and encounter some Kiwi Oracles (one is a “little person”), a furry Yowie with a romantic needs and Crows’ footballer, Tony Modra, as a sidekick.

Of course, all this is just an excuse for a comical parade of silly characters, endless ridiculous voices, convulsive jazz dance and absurd songs about gods, love and the rest. One hilarious idea is time travel through interpretive dance. The galloping Hounds of Hell are entertaining, dim-witted servants of Lucifer. Other highlights are the devilish Filet, the Kiwi Oracles and the lisping demon who loves Lucifer.

The show is performed inventively with little or no props or set. The four performers wear black jeans and shirts and changed characters swiftly with the addition of a hat, coat or an accent. There are no dull spots and the 60 minutes provide plenty of laughs for an audience craving comedy.

By Kate Herbert

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