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.