From a sold out season at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, a group of law students and lawyers are bringing their show, Tale of the Golden Lease, to this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival.
The group, Vigilantelope, wrote and produced the show. The four performers originally met during Monash law reviews. From there they developed the show that crosses heaven and earth, features a range of characters including the devil, an Indian God and a yowie and original music and dance numbers.
Despite his workload, he still finds the time for rehearsals for the upcoming performance in the festival and says the group drew on their law skills when producing the show.
"We all like a certain brand of comedy - there is a mish mash of comedy styles in the group - but I think we all like more cerebral, clever [comedy]," he says.
"We're also slapstick in some places, but also in the writing we try and keep it clever and punchy and I think studying law has helped with being succinct. Also the rigour you get from a law degree has probably put us in a place where ... we will draft things a hundred times and will go over things and I think the end outcome is a good product."
Pat Miller, who graduated from Monash University and currently works at Gadens Lawyers in the banking and finance practice group, is also a Jehovah's Witness, a devil hound and a god while on stage.
He says that working in a law firm has helped develop ideas and characters for the show.
"[With] the different characters you meet in a law firm and dealing with clients, it is good to draw inspiration from those types of people when you're trying to do a character on stage or tying to think of an idea for a scene. That type of experience is good for that - you meet a lot of weird people that work in law firms," he says.
"[Also] when you study law your mind is irrevocably changed forever, you look at things differently - you can't help it. Organisational skills are better after doing a law degree and that helps with the writing side of comedy and collating a script and trying to manage different people in the group and meeting times - and lawyers are pretty good at that."
Of the 330 eligible acts at the comedy festival, Tale of the Golden Lease was nominated for a Golden Gibbo award. The festival's publication, The Pun, named it as one of the top five not-just-stand-up shows of 2009.
The Pun described the show as "A magnificent performance that ultimately restored my faith in the art of comedy, theatre and performance ... Please, someone give them a TV show!", adding "It is hard to avoid the feeling that, watching this performance, you are witnessing the birth of a new generation of comedic actors."
The group's other performers are Tim McDonald, who graduated from Monash University and will start at Minter Ellison in 2010, and Vachel Spirason, who has one year remaining of his law degree at Monash.
The Melbourne fringe festival kicks off this Friday, 25 September and runs until 10 October.
The group does not plan to stop at the fringe festival, however, and says it plans to take the show to Adelaide in February next year and to Edinburgh in June 2010.
- Sarah Sharples
Tale of the Golden Lease will be showing at the Lithuanian Club in North Melbourne with ticket prices $20 or $16 for concession.