Command Performance

The home-coming is complete!

In 2012 a select group of lucky Aotearoans were able to catch Vance (and his Peculiar Sensations) back on home soil for the first time in many years.  The majestic vibrations of his climactic return show Command Performance thrummed through his home turf like a herd of horses – not just any horses but a herd of stallions, not just any stallions but Arabian stallions (and Arabian in a friendly way like the Qatar not Yemen)

Command Performance in 2013

There are still parts of the globe yet to experience Vance Fontaine and His Peculiar Sensations lay bare The Vance’s life. The chosen few still can lather themselves in the soapy suds of New Zealand’s greatest songster.

And here’s where:

Taranaki Arts Festival

22 and 23 August

Mayfair Festival Club

More information is here

Here’s how The Vance describes “Command Performance”

One Man, One Band, One Hour.

When Greg Ellis takes to the stage as Vance Fontaine he will have no idea what to expect next. Completely at the mercy of the audience and a four piece band he will tell the story of one forgotten Kiwi Music legend and sing the songs he has left as his legacy. For the first time in New Zealand one performer, accompanied by a live band, will create a solo improvised musical comedy show. That sounds like a lot of adjectives for a single show but COMMAND PERFORMANCE promises something unlike anything comedy audiences in New Zealand have ever seen, or heard.

COMMAND PERFORMANCE is the story of Vance Fontaine, 70s and 80s lounge singer, raconteur and man of the world. While the rest of New Zealand talks about John Rowles, Sir Howard Morrison, even Ray Woolf, Vance Fontaine remains underappreciated in Kiwi music circles – maybe because he is entirely fictitious. Greg Ellis hopes to remedy that (all except the fictitiousness part) with a show that sees the audience ask Vance for the stories that have shaped him as a man and an artiste. These stories have all influenced Vance’s music and each story will lead into a song, improvised entirely on the spot by both Ellis and band.

COMMAND PERFORMANCE sees 22 year improvised comedy veteran, Wellingtonian Greg Ellis, team up with local musicians to create a completely unscripted cabaret style performance where the music plays as big a part as the gags in between. “I want this show to be more than just short improv games,” says Ellis. “This will feel like going to an intimate cabaret show with songs as well as stories that will change each and every night, a key challenge will be seamlessly integrating the audiences role, I want to step away from the stop and start nature of traditional improv ask fors and weave it into the banter that is typical of this style of music show.”

The show was a recipient of a 2012 grant from the Creative Comedy Initiative – a NZ Comedy Trust grant that encourages innovative work that involves collaboration between comedians and other arts practitioners. In this case Greg Ellis teams up with musical director Tane Upjohn-Beatson and a band of crack improvising musicians (Takumi Motokawa, Matiu Whiting and Thomas McGrath).

“To witness Ellis’ ability to create a complete show from start to finish is a truly hilarious and unique experience, I learned almost everything I know about comedy from Greg, He’s brilliant.” – Steve Wrigley

Here’s what other people say about COMMAND PERFORMANCE


8-19 May 2012 at BATS Theatre, Wellington and The Basement, Auckland

12 – 27 October 2012 as part of “The Weekend Comedy Cocktail” at Downstage Theatre, Wellington.


2012 Critics Wildcard – Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards

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