Summer in Texas is filled with a lot of the same for most people—water, sun, tan lines and mosquito bites. I’d be the last person to ever tire of floating the river or exploring Lake Travis, but it’s nice to mix it up sometimes, right?
Downtown Austin’s Hideout Theatre is the perfect different kind of summer fun. Comedy shows, musicals, murder mysteries—all improvisational! A bit hidden behind a coffeehouse, the small stage area is host to not only improv performances of all kinds, but also improv classes if you’re interested. This past Saturday, I checked out Scene of the Crime: a 100% improvised murder mystery. It’s as awesome as it sounds.
According to their Facebook page, “Inspired by the works of Agatha Christie, a group of eccentric characters are gathered in an isolated location, a murder is committed, and all are suspects. An intrepid detective, either by design or circumstance, is enlisted to investigate. Along the way, twists and turns abound until the murderer is unmasked, and justice is served… or is it? Join our top flight cast of improv comedians as they, with no script in sight, weave a tangled web of dark secrets and hidden agendas—ah, but who’s the spider and who’s the fly? Find out when the final shocking revelation sends you gasping into the night!”
I couldn’t have described it better—it was not only hilarious and entertaining, but the improv acting was truly impressive. The audience even gets to participate a bit—by round of applause, we chose the general location of the murder (remote countryside resort) and by random shout-outs, we chose the specific location (Switzerland) and the method (stabbing).
“People ask us all the time, ‘How much is scripted?’ but it really is all improvised,” said cast member Audrey Sansom, who played a Southern belle with a mean-streak. “We never know what’s going to happen, how it’s going to turn out—it’s different every night.”
Which of course, makes me want to go back for another show! Tickets are affordable, the time was perfect (about two hours with a ten minute intermission), and they allow food and beverages inside. Also, the location is great for a downtown stroll afterwards. Our stroll would unknowingly end in the surprise appearance of hundreds of stark-naked people bicycling through the city. I had never heard of World Naked Bike Ride. You never know what you’ll see here in Austin.
Check out the Hideout Theatre’s calendar for upcoming events, there’s sure to be something you’ll enjoy!
Sidenote: if that something happens to be the June 27th show—“Song Runner: a futuristic Blade-Runner/cyberpunk/robot-styled musical”—please let me know, IN DETAIL, what that experience was like. I mean…what?! Again, you never know what you’ll see here in Austin.
By Alysha Kaye