As I eased into the Friday evening with a selection of cold craft beers from The Butterfly Club’s detailed menu my curiosity for the improv comedy show The Big HOO-HAA! began to bounce off the colourful walls. Though I have seen my fair share of live comedy and spent all too many hours navigating and memorising comedians on YouTube, my experience with improv comedy was minimal and my interest was piqued.
Ushered down to our seats we waited for it all to begin. Energised and buzzing, the MC immediately roped us into the action: we were to be judges helping to pick the eventual winner between two teams, the Hearts and the Bones. Credit where credit is due, the casting of performers in this lineup of kooky exaggerators, deadpan bandits and vocal sensations made the stage seem twice as big as they paraded around showcasing their impressive improvisational talents.
Their masterpiece; a faultless, whirlwind musical entitled ‘Wine’ that saw young “Cecelia” toiling away as a grape stomper under enormous pressure until an impromptu song inspired her to confront her boss, stomping him into mush to the hilarious tune of “Now YOU are the wine”. Other games included Cliffhanger, which tested four performers’ ability to manifest a scene that ended on a suspenseful uncertainty, eliminating one storyline every act to leave only one to come to its eventual denouement. We saw a sweaty, hysterically awkward gym relationship begin to blossom, a struggling novelist attempt and gloriously fail writing a Sweet Valley High murder mystery novel and experienced the turbulent partnership of a brother and sister running what eventually became a supernatural taxidermy business.
The Big HOO-HAA! was a humble riot that made great efforts to incorporate the audience and above all else, thoroughly entertain. The performers were as quirky and charming as The Butterfly Club itself, which featured walls covered in bric-a-brac and shelves stacked with old literature, records, dolls and Pez dispensers. The Company boasts more than 7 years’ experience and it is no wonder the show has had such great success and built its reputation as the finest improv comedy performance Melbourne has to offer.
The Big HOO-HAA! are in residence at the Butterfly until Dec but given how fast this year is going add it to the top of your list of date ideas immediately.