Welcome to our blog

This will be our online home for the next little bit, while our website gets upgraded. It's pretty cosy - got a nice fridge that came with it actually, which is well bonus. Stick around and have a sniff about. We'll post news and what not about our happenings when we get the chance.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jokes aside, laughs won on a whim


Margaret Paul
December 19, 2009
THERE is a moment in Felicity Ward's fantastic new show, Felicity Ward Reads from the Book of Moron, when the pipe-sucking stand-up opens her big book of tales and calls for her faithful dog to warm her feet. To our delight, it's none other than punk comedian David Quirk. It's a good starting point for a discussion of live comedy in 2009: comic collaboration, tick; novelty props, tick; storytelling, tick.

Back in April, during the 2009 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, whimsy was the buzz word. The blogosphere was awash with arguments over whether home-made props and flights of fancy were just a cover for a lack of jokes.

Local king of cardigan comedy, the Bedroom Philosopher, managed to literally break his funny bone in a run-in with the title character of his show, Songs from the 86 Tram. The injury meant his season reached its terminus sooner than expected, but he walked away with the Directors' Choice Award.

Whimsy didn't die; it multiplied. And in the year that Monty Python celebrated its 40th anniversary, it took on an absurdist bent.

Comedy duo The List Operators delighted crowds with both props and punch lines, often at the same time, such as the juicy Jennifer Cantelopez. They won the Golden Gibbo award for best independent comedy. Young sketch troupe Vigilantelope played to packed houses in both comedy and fringe festivals for their joyful narrative comedy romp Tale of the Golden Lease. With a hilarious pun on the master of disguise, they take out second place in the home-made props of 2009 competition.

Perhaps the best home-made props feature in the climax of Claudia O'Doherty's Monsters of the Deep 3D, the brilliant one-woman presentation on the lost underwater colony, which scored best comedy in this year's Fringe.

But there's experimentation, and there's simply not being prepared. Several stand-ups this year relied heavily on cheat sheets. This is surely the first thing a director, or loving family member, would point out.

And while there's nothing funny about the recession we almost had, the comedy festival, with 318 shows, managed modest profits in a year when many other events died like so many lame jokes about Facebook. International highlights included US duo The Pajama Men, who took out the Barry Award for Best Show, and 2008's Barry winner, the filthy ventriloquist Nina Conti. Both are returning in 2010. Festival director Susan Provan counts among her highlights the commercial success of young locals Josh Thomas and Tom Ballard, who won this year's best newcomer award.

Other local standouts include Celia Pacquola's solo debut, Am I Strange?, a hilariously honest voyage inside her mind, which performed to sell-out crowds and received the Age Critics' Choice award, and Felicity Ward's savagely self-deprecating Ugly as a Child Variety Hour.
Outside of festival time, rooms such as The Last Tuesday Society and weekly stalwart Local Laughs encourage the comic cross-pollination that allows for such strong festivals. The new monthly topical forum, Political Asylum, has been attracting great crowds. With elections due in 2010, expect this event to continue.

The family represented well overseas, too; The List Operators, Pacquola and Ward were among a delegation to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Back home at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, the comedy contingent keeps growing. This year's comedy program featured 84 shows, up from 56 in 2008. Comedy doyenne Janet A Macleod says one of her 2009 highlights was the rise of collaborations between independent comedians, from comedian-director combinations to sharing the stage.

Think Judith Lucy and Denise Scott co-hosting annual fund-raiser Short and Girly, or new sketch group The Anarchist Guild Social Committee, featuring Andrew McClelland and Pacquola.
Macleod puts this down to the level of trust. ''It has been said that in other cities, comedy is a business,'' she says. ''In Melbourne, comedy is a giant dysfunctional family.''

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Vigilantelope awarded a HotHouse Month in the Country Residency

We are really thrilled to have been awarded a Hothouse Residency in which to write our new show 'Prophecy of the Quantum Child' which will debut at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in March. The residency is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Victoria, Arts NSW, Albury City, Hothouse Theatre and the Australian Government.

The next round of applications for the Month in the Country program close on February the 15th. You can find out more about how to apply here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bright young things steal limelight at Fringe

The Age
Liza Power
October 10, 2009
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2009/10/09/1255019610581.html

EMILY Sexton has a simple philosophy when it comes to offering Melburnians a taste of art - ''if the work is fantastic, people will find it''. As the curtain falls this weekend on the flourish of ingenuity that was this year's Fringe Festival, its creative director, buoyed by a 20 per cent increase in ticket sales, has proved the theory holds.

In its 27th year, the festival held a record 310 acts in 145 venues. From established genres such as comedy, circus, visual arts and cabaret, to less conventional ''shows'' - love letter text messages, MP3 tours of city laneways, musical performances in CBD elevators - Fringe demonstrated, for Sexton, that not only is Melbourne riding a particularly vibrant artistic wave at the moment but local audiences are happy to ride it with them.

For Sexton, the festival's ''open access'' format is crucial to its success. Unlike many other festivals, which are curated by individual directors, Fringe is open to anyone with an idea and the motivation to get it up and running. ''Artists really have to put themselves on the line, take a risk and offer something new, different, and unexpected,'' says Sexton.

Of course, for those Melburnians without the time or the fancy to seek out Fringe, it invariably found them. Last Friday, the city's veins turned a curious shade of blue when close to 100 performers dressed as Japanese artist Yasuko Kurono took part in a live art event called TOYS (Take Off Your Skin project). Even lazier Melburnians could simply register their mobile phones to receive daily love letters by text thanks to Letters to Isaac.

While big comedy names such as Arj Barker, Philip Escoffey, Daniel Kitson and Josh Thomas drew predictably large crowds, Sexton says she gained the greatest pleasure from the success of ''new kids on the block''. They included Indian stand-up Shiva at St Martins Theatre, the Ray Charles tribute Genius at the Collins Street Baptist Church and Vigilantelope's playful sketch comedy and dance hybrid, Tale of the Golden Lease.

Beyond the city limits, dance troupe Reverb extended the Fringe's reach to Bendigo in a regional foray Sexton hopes will gain momentum next year. ''We dipped our toes in this year and the hope is that we'll have a lot more regional artists pitching for Fringe 2010.''

This year's festival also saw the return of the Store Room as a venue for the first time since 2005, while the Trades Hall extended its program and Footscray drew cross-town traffic thanks to the quirky, small-scale appeal of the Dog Theatre. While the act of dispersing its audience over so many venues meant for some critics the festival lacked a certain ''buzz'' around its main North Melbourne hub, Sexton argues finding new performance nooks, which this year included a Brunswick backyard and numerous inner city bars, is part of Fringe's appeal.

She says the significant increase in ticket sales is all the more rewarding given the difficult economic climate. ''It's an interesting reflection of where we are with people engaging with culture. The ticket price is the same as you'd pay to see a Hollywood film, but instead people have taken the chance to see work from predominantly local artists, hopefully knowing that 80 per cent of the box office takings goes straight back to the artists themselves. That's a lot more money going into artists' pockets than at most other festivals.''

The Fringe closes tomorrow.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aww, we love you

We found this at http://silence-without.blogspot.com/2009/09/roarin-forties-care-far-too-much.html It's pretty bloody nice. Warm thanks to the author.


The Fringe Festival is imminent and YOU MUST SEE VIGILANTELOPE'SSHOW "THE TALE OF THE GOLDEN LEASE", and no, that is not a recommendation, it is a fucking ORDER the damn world will END IF YOU DO NOT SEE THIS SHOW and do you really want that on your conscience NO YOU DO NOT. 

We saw this at the Comedy Festival last April. It was a last minute 'what the hell' ticket buy, based on a passing recommendation. I think we saw around five comedy shows all up, Danny Bhoy and Jason Byrne included, and this was the best show of the whole festival, by miles and miles. In fact, it remains the best show I've been to all year. It was spectacularly funny, clever, absurd, with dancing and singing and tomfoolery and, and, you know I am not capable of the lyrical waxing necessary to do these guys justice. It was that fucking OARSUM. Quotes have stayed with us and randomly tossing them out is enough to reduce us to tears STILL.

Tickets are cheap. Opening night is 2 for 1. 2 for 1! Take your friends. Take your cat. Just do something in character and go. Do something out of character and go. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

World's Funniest Island

We are lucky enough to have been invited to perform at the inaugural World's Funniest Island Festival in Sydney. The line-up is incredible - featuring The Goodies, Alexei Sayle, Felicity Warde, Sammy J - really cracker list. You can see the whole program here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sammy J on Vigilantelope

Props to Sammy J for his mention:

"Final special mention goes to Vigilantelope, a bunch of ridiculously fun dudes from the local revue scene, whose show also scored a Gibbo Nomination and had people in high places saying all sorts of awesome things. I think I actually slapped my thigh whilst watching their show - piss funny wouldn’t begin to describe it. Stay tuned for a return season from these guys."

What a great dude. This year, he and Heath McIvor are spending a great deal of time touring the acclaimed "Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams" through Australia and the UK. Check out the upcoming dates for this show, as well as his sell out MICF Smash Hit "1999" here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Collaterly_Sisters on Vigilantelope

Just found this really lovely post about Vigilantelope by Collaterly_Sisters at www.messandnoise.com

Really lovely to stumble across such kind words from a stranger. Thanks for your support!

Collaterly_Sisters  said about 1 month ago:

Wow. Busy month. Did anyone else happen to catch a young troupe at Trades called Vigilantelope? I went in knowing nothing and was preparing myself for the possibility it could be patchy and undergraduate. I came out thinking this could well have been the best show of the festival (that I'd seen anyway). And I caught the Barry winners (The Pajama Men) on the first night of the fest and was convinced there was no way anything could top them this year. I think I was proven wrong on the final night. Astonishing, face-hurtingly hilarious, utterly ridiculous (while still maintaining a coherent story - a problem that so many other acts with absurdist leanings struggle with), amazing writing and even better formation dancing. Where the hell did these kids come from? It's probably not a big call to predict they'll have their own ABC/SBS show within two years, which is slightly jealousy-inducing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bye Bye Comedy Festival

So, the comedy festival is well and truly over, and we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your ongoing support for the group, the show, and independent comedy.

This was our first comedy festival, and we never anticipated that it would go so well. A sold out season, a Golden Gibbo Award nomination, great reviews, and wonderful audiences made this an absolute dream run. Without you, it would have just been a run. A long, strenuous run with a niggling ankle injury along an uninspiring suburban route. So thankyou. You are the best.

Vigilantelope is now gearing up for a few exciting projects. Expect to hear more from us in the coming weeks about upcoming Vigilantelope appearances.

We are also excited to announce that we are planning an encore season of "Tale of the Golden Lease" for the Melbourne Fringe Festival this year. So if you, your mum, or any of your friends missed out, this will be your last chance to see the show that for one reviewer "…ultimately restored [his] faith in the art of comedy, theatre and performance." (The Pun) Details about the Fringe run of the show will be posted here as they become available.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Tale of the Golden Lease" listed in The Pun's Top Five Not-Just-Standup Shows

Home » FeaturedThe PunThe Pun 2009The Pun 2009 Articles

Top 5… Not-just-standup shows

Top 5… Not-just-standup shows

In no particular order, here are our Top 5 suggestions for shows which break out of the stand-up mould to offer you something a little different.

1. Denise Scott - Number 26

Sit back, relax and put your metaphoric comfy nightie on so you can join Scott in her jaunt down memory lane.  Part stand-up, part storytelling with a dash of showbiz thrown in, this show is one you’ll remember long after you’ve rushed off to the next gig.

2. Wilson Dixon Rides Again

If you haven’t seen a Wilson Dixon show before, you’ll want to give this one a crack.  Not just because of the recent Barry Award nomination, which usually signals a good show, but because this uniquely drawn charachter has a way of sneaking up on you.  The music is good, the premise is good, the story is good.  This cowboy philosopher is more than just a charicature, which makes for a great show.

3. The List Operators

Addicted to making lists?  This show is perfect for you.  Fresh from their award winning season (and sold-out) season at Melbourne Fringe Festival, this duo will keep you laughing for a full hour… and what better than to make our Top 5 list than, well, a show about lists.

4. Tale of the Golden Lease

Read our review for a glowing recommendation to see this show, or just take my word for the fact that these lads are performing sketch comedy at its finest.

5. Justin Hamilton - Goodbye Ruby Tuesday

Combine one talented comedian and one talented actor and you get Goodbye Ruby Tuesday.  An hour long story about little-girl-lost, Ruby, and her rather strange friendship with local comic Jason.  There are smatterings of stand-up, a beguiling story and endearing, well drawn charachters.  Well worth a look.

The Pun Reviews Vigilantelope's "Tale of the Golden Lease"

Home » The PunThe Pun 2009The Pun 2009 Reviews

Tale of the Golden Lease

Tale of the Golden Lease

Utter the words ‘university’ and ‘comedy’ in the same sentence and you’ll usually elicit a long groan from me. As much as I understand the need for students to start somewhere and trial their material, I really don’t need to be subjected to painful performances limited to re-enactments of South Park or Monty Python. But this festival, Tale of the Golden Lease has blown all my preconceptions away with a magnificent performance, and ultimately restored my faith in the art of comedy, theatre and performance.

Vachel Spirason, Joel Tito, Pat Miller, Tim McDonald and Nick Russell from the Monash Law Revue Gold Alumni tell a pan-dimensional story of religion, history and silliness that is truly astonishing. Tale of the Golden Lease shows that regardless of budget, it is pure talent that will entertain, and these boys have it in spades.

This is an incredibly tight performance that overcomes every hurdle thrown at it. With a large number of scene changes, actors playing multiple characters and minimal props, the magical illusion of a continued story is never lost. The audience is continually spellbound by the antics of these rather manic, energetic and overwhelmingly entertaining performers. Lightening-quick scene changes ensure that boredom never sets in, and what they obviously lack in funding for props (the golden lease, holding the deed to earth’s future, is a phonebook badly wrapped in gold foil), they make up for in confidence and ability.

I really stuggle to find anything wrong with this performance – very few scripted jokes fell flat – with the exception of an inevitable law joke that went straight over my non-legal head. Combining very strong acting talents with no shred of shame enables these boys to keep the fourth wall of the theatre incredibly solid.

It is hard to avoid the feeling that, watching this performance, you are witnessing the birth of a new generation of comedic actors. Like the D-Generation or The Chaser, intelligent, informed talent has to start somewhere, and I predict we’ll be seeing much more of this crew in the future. Please, someone give them a TV show! If these five boys can produce a show so entertaining with little more than some devil horns, an oversized latte, black cloth and their awesomely tatty golden lease, just imagine what they could rise to.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Groggy Squirrel Review of Vigilantelope's "Tale of the Golden Lease"

2009 MICF Reviews

Tale of the Golden Lease

Fresh from the Monash Comedy Law Revues comes Vigilantelope (Vachel Spirason, Joel Tito, Nick Russell, Tim McDonald and Pat Miller) with their show Tale of the Golden Lease. It told the story of the dispute of Earth’s lease with Father Time and the ensuing journey of a courier and two humans through various dimensions to find the document before Satan’s minions.

Working with a bare stage, they made creative use of lighting and sound effects to transport the audience to the different locales in the play. In a similar act of economy, they kept the props and costuming basic, often using only a hat to switch between characters. The only costuming of some substance was the brilliant one used to portray Vishnu. This bare bones approach was a necessity as each of the five actors was required to play multiple wacky beings, so we weren’t left staring at a darkened stage for too long between scenes.

The script was punchy and crammed a lot of story into the hour. The characters were completely over the top and made use of plenty of witty wordplay, nonsensical concepts and surprising visual gags to keep the hilarity at a high level that never wavered. A number of clever pop culture references added to the fun and a subtext echoing the current financial climate made this a quite topical show in spite of the lashings of whimsy.

The team threw themselves around the stage with great enthusiasm and bounced off each other effortlessly. Their five years working together certainly showed as they pulled off an almost seamless performance which the audience lapped up.

There were a number of big musical numbers that were not only amusing in content but regularly featured a troop of dancers to add some zaniness. These background elements of humour were subtle enough not to take away from the song, they were little funny things occurring in the peripheral. Dancing featured heavily in the show not just as a way of jazzing things up, but as an interesting and surreal plot point. All five joined in on some tightly choreographed and hilarious routines, mugging the whole time.

The Tale of the Golden Lease was a brilliantly rollicking show that had the audience in hysterics. It proved that the University Revues are still a fertile ground for top comedic talent.

Visit the Comedy@Trades Website for booking details.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vigilantelope Nominated for a Golden Gibbo Award!

Last night, the Golden Gibbo Nominees were announced at the festival club, and incredibly, our very own "Tale of the Golden Lease" was amongst them!
The prize is in remembrance of Lynda Gibson, Melbourne comedy legend, who died on January 2, 2004 after a long battle with cancer. The award is "awarded to a local, independent show that bucks trends and pursues the artist's idea more strongly than it pursues any commercial lure." 
The Nominees for 2009 are: Heath McIvor: Randy's Postcards From Purgatory, Wes Snelling: Kiosk, The List Operators, Rob Hunter: Moosecow, and Tom Ballard: Is What He Is. Such an honour to be up there with these guys! Go and check out as many of these acts as possible - they are all very different and excellent.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tale of the Golden Lease - Selling Fast!

Vigilantelope's "Tale of the Golden Lease" opened last night to a full house of wonderful people. Tickets are now SOLD OUT for Thu the 16th and Fri the 17th of April! Book for tonight or Sat the 18th right now at http://www.vigilantelope.com or buy tickets at the door. Show starts at 7pm at Trades Hall on the corner of Lygon or Victoria. We'd love to see you there!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Vigilantelope in MCV

Check out the wee article on Vigilantelope on Page 18 pf MCV!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vigilantelope Inpress

Click to enlarge.

Also, we have an interview featured on webwombat at the moment. Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Sorry it's been a bit quiet over here recently. We've been very busy rehearsing, singing, dancing, writing and re-writing, squabbling, hugging and generally working really hard to make Tale of the Golden Lease one of the best shows in the world
Tickets for opening night are all but sold out. 

Join the hundreds of Melbournians who are choosing Vigilantelope amongst other things this festival. 

Make an investment in personal happiness and general merriment. Buy a ticket here. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Vigilantelope Cake by Emily

One good-looking and utterly delicious cake. Thankyou Emily. You are the best.

Daniel Kitson Confirmed for the 2009 Melbourne Comedy Festival!

If you, like us, scoured the pages of the Comedy Festival Guide a few weeks ago for any mention of Daniel Kitson, and if you, like us, were disappointed to find his name glaringly absent, then you, like us, will be doing big jumps into the air, twisting your torso about and doing little claps when you find out that our favourite man is in fact joining us this April for a last-minute show.
Daniel will be doing Sunday the 5th of April to Thursday the 9th, Sunday the 12th of April to Thursday the 16th, and Sun the 19th of April to Thursday the 23rd at the RRR Performance Space in Brunswick. Tickets are remarkably cheap - $14 including booking fee - for what Daniel has described as a work in progress. 
The tickets are being sold exclusively through Polyester Records, and they have more information on their website here.
Daniel also has a post on his website here, which lists other projects for 2009, some of them during the festival, others in Melbourne later in the year.
If you have never seen Daniel Kitson before, and also if you have, you should definitely see him this time. He's really smart and lovely and poetic and philosophical and genuine and really very very funny.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vach comes Second in Raw Victorian State Final

Yes! Vachel from Vigilantelope came second on Tuesday in the Victorian State Final of Raw comedy. Ripper stuff. When all the state finals are complete, Raw will release the names of those who will proceed to the national final. Fingers crossed! Details about the National Final on the 19th of April can be found here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Vigilantelopes Run Amok!


Real live Vigilantelopes alive, well, and thirsty.

Monday, March 9, 2009