The Hermitude of Angus, Ecstatic

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

08/03/2011 - 12/03/2011

Suter Theatre, Nelson

12/10/2012 - 13/10/2012

Nelson Arts Festival 2012

Production Details

Darkly funny, tragically enthusiastic, weirdly inappropriate and strangely moving, this critically acclaimed show is about an odd boy with a murmuring heart. A “must-see” (The Age, 2010) physical comedy, “Angus, Ecstatic” was awarded Best Comedy at the 2010 Melbourne Fringe Festival, as well as the 2010 Brisbane Powerhouse Comedy Award.

Combining comedy, dance, music, clowning and reading, this is a story show unlike any other. In ‘Angus, Ecstatic’, physical comedy is woven into a unique read-along experience that moves between page and stage. Sitting somewhere between live picture book and lovingly arranged mixed tape, The Hermitude of Angus, Ecstatic is visually and musically stunning. The noteworthy soundtrack is a character in itself, and brings together under-appreciated pop classics from Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson and Smokey Robinson, which in the show are beautifully off-set by the bittersweet musings of Erik Satie and Laurie Anderson. 

This production showcases the formidable talents of two of Australia’s most exciting artists. Spirason and Brotchie (Slow Clap) form 2/5ths of multi-award winning Melbourne-based comedy group Vigilantelope.

Writer/performer Vachel Spirason is a “comedian, musician, and dancer-extraordinaire.”(Artshub, 2010) In 2009, he was a Raw Comedy State Finalist, and is an accomplished writer, actor and choreographer.

Writer/producer Stephanie Brotchie was awarded the Auspicious Arts Award for Best Emerging Producer at the 2009 Melbourne Fringe Festival, and has established herself as one of Victoria’s most promising Emerging Writers.

The pair have established a cult following through appearances around Australia at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, The Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Brisbane Comedy Festival, the Last Tuesday Society, the Emerging Writers’ Festival and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

“This is a triumph of exceptional acting, direction and production. To Vachel and producer, co-writer and visual artist Stephanie Brotchie, my hat goes off. I just think what you’re doing for the world is wonderful.” – Rhum, 2010

“A show as inspired and inventive as one would hope from these emerging, but already highly celebrated talents.” -Artshub, 2010 

The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland CBD
Tues 8 – Sat 12 March 2011, 10pm
Contains occasional strong language and sexual references
09 361 1000 or  
All Tickets $20*
*Service fees apply

Find Slow Clap on:


Nelson Arts Festival
Suter Theatre 
Fri 12 – Sat 13 October, 7pm


Ecstasy and chocolate cake

Review by Anna Pearson 20th Oct 2012

You see, hear and read all sorts of things doing this job, but last night was the first time I had seen a man make love to a chocolate cake.

I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to take Vachel Spirason as Angus, a socially-awkward outcast with mismatched socks. [More


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Hard to resist

Review by Janet McAllister 09th Mar 2011

At first, this late-night one-man show from Australia looks like just a vehicle for aMr Beanimpersonator in younger, more alternative clothing. The talented Vachel Spirason as Angus can certainly ape the open mouth, expressive eyebrows and angry confusion of Rowan Atkinson’s old-fashioned, socially-awkward naif to a remarkable degree. And he isn’t afraid to make fart jokes.

But Spirason and co-writer/producer/designer Stephanie Brotchie are tender towards their mostly speechless idiot-savant character and he’s funnier and far more loveable than Mr Bean, while negotiating his formula for the universe, trying to make friends, dancing and hiding from his dastardly alter ego, Manabohzo. 

For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.   


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Absolutely brilliant theatre!

Review by Stephen Austin 09th Mar 2011

Angus is a simpleton sitting on a park bench trying to figure out how the world works – he thinks he may have stumbled on a formula. He meets people every day, but is still lonely and cannot fathom why. Poor Angus. His brain is full of so many ideas, thoughts and minds-eye snapshots, that his private universe almost implodes on itself, he is so unable to communicate it fully. All he hopes for is that everyone is having a really nice day. 

Performed with frantic glee by Vachel Spirason and held together by the expert eye of Stephanie Brotchie, this wonderful surreal world is realised with all of the vibrant joy that this company can muster. Told with dance, mime, bizarre regionalised gibberish, picture-book serialised storytelling and cream-pie-to-the-face humour, all is blended to create a private world of universal truths. This could so easily be described as “early Rowan Atkinson doing Forrest Gump”, but there is so much more going on here than either. 

Spirason is boundless in energy and takes it to extremes in the hour-long performance. His changes into myriad characters are exacting, so each and every moment from each and every persona is captured and given the full attention it deserves for full understanding and maximum comedic impact. 

The dance sequences have an amazing freedom within the relatively confined space of the Basement. From uncontrollable-magical-shoe tap, to Michael Jackson parody, to free-form joyous flailing across the stage, the performer’s precision and detail are a revelation. I’m exhausted just watching him.

Sound cues are used to keep the story of Angus and his nemesis/alter-ego, Manabohzo, on track, but are easily diverted from as the actor cheekily improvises with the audience, while keeping completely within the moment. Lighting is handled expertly to transport locales and communicate time-frames. 

I’m a bit of a cynic at times, so a production that gets me squealing with laughter and on my feet by the end is rare. This did both and had me hanging around afterwards to dance with Angus and enjoy his simple company and boundless joy some more. This is absolutely brilliant theatre!

I’ve never seen an audience leave a theatre so… well… ecstatic! I just hope he’s having a really nice day too! 

This review kindly supported by The James Wallace Arts Trust

For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.   


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