Charlie Ranger and Michael Argus in A Sunburnt History, by Australian Classical Theatre

“Walking out of a Sunburnt History, I had to catch my breath—it’s a big show, with a big message and even bigger performances.” — Lucy Watson, In Batmania

Read more reviews …

A Sunburnt History - NOT Gallipoli

A Sunburnt History was conceived for three reasons: to provide audiences a chance to hold a mirror up to society past and present; to learn more about Australian history; and to offer a fresh perspective and get Aussies doing what they do best—have a good laugh at themselves.

A Sunburnt History

The Story

It’s those two guys (back again). It’s dozens of new characters (again). It’s historically accurate comedy that is controversial and on the edge (again). It’s Charlie and Spanky addressing the big questions, including Hitler (not again). It’s sweaty, naked (literally) and it mentions the war.

Blatantly using music, dance, physical comedy, and as many characters as we can cram into 60 minutes, we’ll dispel the myths from our shores. We’re taking a blowtorch to everything that’s been swept under the carpet because of Gallipoli. It’s our guide, not our destination.

It’s all these things … But it is definitely NOT Gallipoli.

A Sunburnt History


In 2015, Charlie Ranger and Michael Argus—following the sellout shows A Sunburnt History - The true story of Burke and Wills, A Sunburnt History - The First Fleet and A Sunburnt History - Citizenship—are returning to the Melbourne International Commedy Festival with their new production of A Sunburnt History - NOT Gallipoli.

Production by Charlie Ranger and Michael Argus, with additional direction by Stewart Morritt.

Upcoming Performances

Performing at the Melbourne International Commedy Festival, March–April, 2015:

  • Dates: 28 March – 19 April, 2015
    Venue: Trades Hall, The Whitlam Room
    Tickets: $24 full, $20 concession, $16 Tightarse Tuesday, Group, Laugh Pack
    Times: 8:30pm Tues-Sat, 7:30pm Sun
    Bookings: Ticketmaster; At the door.

For more information about further performances, please contact us.

A Sunburnt History - the first fleet - ship


Shirley Jensen, Stage Whispers

It’s 2015 and everybody is talking about Gallipoli. But Charlie and Spanky give us a very different perspective – not everything can or should be compared with Gallipoli.

This talented duo trains their laser wit on many of our conventions, such as sport as a metaphor for war. Is the Anzac Day football match really like the Diggers storming the Turkish beaches? In this centenary year how far will the commentators take that analogy? Charlie and Spanky take that thought to an uncomfortable extreme.

Our Prime Minister gets a right royal serve in this performance. A stand out segment recalls the life and times of one Anthony Abbott and his plan for royal ascension.

Our multilayered policing system, same sex marriage, the stolen generation, and the cult of celebrity (specifically Kayne West) are some of the topics that are discussed with an hilarious twist.

A Sunburnt History - NOT Gallipoli is 55 minutes of well scripted and performed narrative comedy that drips with biting satire, thought provoking social commentary and nudity – a winning combination that has the audience rolling in the aisles.

Lucy Watson, In Batmania

Wow. There really is something in the water this year. Walking out of a Sunburnt History, I had to catch my breath – it’s a big show, with a big message and even bigger performances.

I stumbled across these two guys a couple of years ago, because I love history and they were doing a show about the First Fleet. What they do is such a refreshing change to straight stand up that it’s a great antidote mid season. Their fast paced, multi character work is impressive, and their energetic physicality is a sea breeze in a hot field of static mic wielders.

This year, it seems as though the guys felt restricted by their pure historical format, and have broken free – and boy have they broken free! From beginning to end this show is blistering in pace and energy, while they bounce from scene to scene, character to character, idea to idea. They wear their big lefty heart on their sleeve in this one too, and they really have something political to say. I imagine in years to come they will hone their message, make it more subtle, and perhaps tone down some of the more undergrad elements of their material, but their talent and charm is undeniable. They’re very good sketch writers, with almost all their sketches getting laughs (which is impressive in an hour long show) and they’re exceptional comedic actors.

Their physical commitment is breathtaking. At one point I literally, audibly gasped for air! I’ll leave you to work out which part… This show is definitely worth checking out if you have a strong constitution (as some of it is… challenging), and/or a strong dislike for Tony Abbott and cohorts. They are certainly one to watch.

Jim Schembri, The Herald-Sun

Oh, if only all history lessons were as flat-out entertaining …

The Pun

Excellent … Brilliant … Comedy gold …

More reviews to come!

Charlie Ranger Michael Argus

About the Creators

Charlie Ranger

For several years, Charlie Ranger has been writing, directing, performing in and producing shows for the Melbourne Commedy Festival, Melbourne’s biggest festival.

As a performer he trained at UBAA, achieving a Bachelor of Arts in Acting. Professionally he has worked alongside such companies as the Australian Shakespeare Company, Two Straws Productions and Burberry Productions for TV. In recent years, he created Long Range Theatre, a company committed to producing independent Melbourne theatre.

A Sunburnt History was the second production presented at the Commedy Festival, following It’s all fun and games … (until someone gets hurt).

Michael Argus

Michael Argus is an actor, producer, co-founder of Black Water Theatre Productions and Doppelganger Theatre Company. He has appeared on stage, in film and on television.

Michael is an Acting graduate from the University of Ballarat Arts Academy (2007) and 16th Street Part Time Program (2012). Since leaving Ballarat, he has worked three seasons of outdoor Shakespeare with touring company OZACT, visiting regional areas throughout VIC & SA. More recently, he has worked on Cherry Smoke as the loveable Duffy directed by Suzanne Heywood and toured with Australian Classical Theatre in productions of both The Drover’s Wife by Henry Lawson and The Dreamer by Barbara Bayton, which were commissioned to perform for bushfire affected communities.

Michael’s TV credits include Neighbours (Channel 10) and Forever Young (Channel 31). His credits with the Doppelganger include directing Wake by Juliana Clements (2011), Paul in Loose Ends by Michael Weller (2011) and Tommy in The Dreamer Examines His Pillow by John Patrick Shanley (2012). Michael’s first performance for Black Water was as Les in the critically acclaimed EAST by Steven Berkoff. Michael recently made his film debut in the independent short Between Me with director Kim Farrant. He also performed in Black Water’s production of Killer Joe in late 2014.

He is a proud member of MEAA.