Schnitz and Giggles at the Hellenic Club

20 Dec

Schnitz and Giggles is a concept devised by members of Impro ACT (impro being short for improvisation), held at the Hellenic Club on Monday nights from 6.30pm over these past few months.

The name pretty much explains it all: come for a meal, and for your trouble, you’ll get a few hours of improvised theatre (and that part’s for free!).

This past Monday night was their end of year Christmas special, and it was packed. Held just behind the main bar in the Hellenic Club – you can’t miss it on entering – there’s a stage and a handful of chairs and tables, all of which were full. We arrived a touch late and so squashed into some high-rise stools facing away from the action, but we made do.

Because it was a Christmas special, instead of their usual cast of four or five, they had 10 and so the set was split into two halves. The night is simply a matter of filling a couple of hours with a number of short impro games, songs, and their weekly soap opera, “Schnitz Street”. Often the games involve stimulus around settings or actions or genres, and the audience’s participation is sought here – on Monday night any contributions were rewarded with candy canes, and even a bottle of wine!

The night was introduced by new – and fabulous – band Sparrow, a female duo with beautiful voices and great humour. One of the first games was the Tomb of Knowledge, where three people form a tomb and the audience asks them questions. Their answer can be short or lengthy, and can take on a life of its own, because each of the three pillars of the tomb can only add one word to the answer. The following vid (in response to a question, “When will Easter eggs be on supermarket shelves”) probably demonstrates it a little better:

Other clever questions asked included: “What advice would you give to aspiring tombs of knowledge?”, “Will I win the lotto?”, “How much money will I receive for Christmas?”, and “What question would you like to ask yourself?”. The Schnitz Street soap opera was then introduced by Sparrow, with the theme song, “We’re all going up Schnitz Street without a paddle” (unsurprisingly, quite catchy). Schnitz Street characters were introduced with a bit of background about what had happened ‘last week’ and the rest was left up to them. It was very funny, if not just a touch hard to follow.

At ‘half time’ Sparrow made a reappearance with a song entirely in French, and probably my favourite of the night: ‘Bangarang’ (any shaky camera is from me laughing):

Another memorable game called “If you know what I mean” had the performers acting out a scene where every line they uttered ended with, “If you know what I mean”, producing truly hilarious results.

Perhaps one of the strangest things I’ve seen is when they performed A Christmas Carol… in the style of film noir. How the performers managed to stay within the film noir style still baffles me! And one of my favourites – an audience member chose a DVD (and I believe got to keep it), and the performers acted out the DVD. Here is Deathstalker (apologies that it goes out of focus at the end!):

The night was probably only let down by the venue: while the offerings on the club’s menu are to be expected (and apparently the cannelloni is great), it’s noisy and music from around the club interferes the performances. Most of the participants had very loud, theatrical voices but some didn’t, and with all the surrounding noise it took a little more effort to concentrate during the performances where the quieter-voiced participants featured. But no mind – it was still a very enjoyable night – and the very open space meant that passers-by often stopped… and stayed!

They assured the crowd at the end of the night that they’ll be back next year.

Date: Monday, 17 December 2012 – from 6.30pm

Where: Hellenic Club, Civic

Attendees: T1 and Boyfriend

Cost: Free

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile

Want more? Here’s their ‘we promise to update more’ Facebook page.

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5 Responses to “Schnitz and Giggles at the Hellenic Club”

  1. Gary Lum December 21, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    I had no idea. I work in the next building and am often there on a Monday. I prefer the steaks at the Hellenic Club but will happily indulge in a schnitty πŸ™‚

    • inthetaratory December 21, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      Ah I thought you were in Woden Gary? This is Hellenic Club in Civic (which is lesser known – no one I speak to seems to have heard of it).

      • Gary Lum December 21, 2012 at 8:26 am #

        Oh 😦 I did not read properly. Yep, I’m in Woden.

      • inthetaratory December 21, 2012 at 8:33 am #

        An easy mistake to make! Hard to think of any other club than the huge one in Woden!

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