Last night a girlfriend of mine and I checked out an improv show at The Hideout Theatre on Congress Ave. and 6th Street (Austin, TX btdubs). We’ve both never been to an improv show, but read the reviews about this place so the curiosity definitely killed us cats. I’ve got to say it was definitely worth it.
The Hideout is a coffee shop on the ground floor with a stage towards the back of the shop. There’s also a staircase that takes you to another stage as I saw crowds of people leaving during our intermission. The coffee is pretty good. They have sweet treats from Russell’s Bakery and Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, as well as pizza from Hoboken Pies. It’s definitely got a homey atmosphere and a pleasant view of Congress Avenue. Ok, enough about food. Back to the improv!
The Hideout holds multiple evening shows from Thursday to Sunday. We checked out their “Theatersports” show, which is typically held on Saturdays at 8 PM. The show is 1 hour and 45 minutes long with a brief less than 10 minute intermission. The structure of the show is pretty basic: two improv teams go head to head in the ultimate battle of pure comedic genius. The first act were two teams playing for the fun of it. The first team, Flying Machines (sorry Hideout if I butchered that team name), was composed of a two-dude/two-girl group who teach kids improv classes. They were nice and sweet and totally innocent. The second group, called Starborn, oh my god, was the complete opposite. The second group was a duo who dressed up as aliens, had German accents and told the dirties jokes-the complete opposite of the first group. Each group challenges each other to different topics and the audience chooses whose best through claps and cheers. There was also an occasional “Directors’ Challenge”, in which one of the two directors, who were also the hosts, challenged each group a topic of their choosing, or force the groups to provide an additional element to the proposed challenge. The structure is the same for the second act, just with different groups and a panel of judges that were audience members that were randomly chose by the directors.
Favorite part? The challenge of “sexiest moment ever”, which was proposed by Starborn, of course. Starborn brought an audience member to the stage, a girl in her mid-20s named Cecilia who was celebrating her bachelorette party (the dead giveaway was the “Bride to Be” sash). The sat her down on the chair and gave her a horn and a bell. Starborn asked about her “first time” and to honk the horn if they recreated it wrong and ring the bell if they recreated it right. The room pretty fell laughing as the German-accent aliens tried to awkwardly foreplay while making as many Drake rapper jokes as they possibly could (the dude’s name she gave was Drake).
It was quite an amazing evening. I don’t think I have ever laughed as hard as I did last night. No, don’t think. I know I have never laughed as hard as I did last night. The actors made the improv look so effortless. Even when they stumbled they just went with the flow. They were interactive with the audience and did their best to avoid the politic realm of comedy, a refreshing sound to one’s ears. It was great fun and I can’t wait to see another show. I may just take an improv class with them too while I’m at it.
In the Austin area and like what you read? Want to see a show? Check out The Hideout at http://www.hideouttheatre.com. You can also visit them IRL at 617 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701.