Rather than have a quiet night in front of the TV this Sunday, have a quiet night in front of the stage instead.
In the newly refurbished and rebranded bar Penny Black (formerly the oddly-monikered Don't Tell Tom) on Sydney Road, theatre company Impro Melbourne host an enjoyable evening of improvised comedy which they've dubbed The Impro Cave.
Instead of the more formal setting of a theatre, the Penny Black provides a more relaxed vibe for Impro Melbourne's performances. You can either sit at the tables in front of the stage and enjoy dinner before the show, or perch yourself on one of the chairs or sofas dotted around the venue. Get there in good time though - there's a danger you could be watching the show from behind a pillar.
Cosy and warm, and with food and drink being served until late, it's as comfortable as being at home. And on stage there's some ad-free entertainment that has the added bonus of no-one - not even the performers - knowing what's going to happen next.
Each week the actors - a talented mix of both professionals and hobbyists who have worked together for some years - use different formats to spin tales and create characters that take form before the audience's eyes. The sense of danger is palpable, and yet they somehow manage to pull it off with apparent ease and plenty of laughs.
One format at a recent show was a kind of Director Idol in which each actor would direct the others in a scene and then the audience would decide which story they wanted to see continued. One story was even a musical, with the actors making up songs on the spot.
Another format was a courtroom scene with the actors playing the judge and lawyers as well as the protagonists in the case. It adds to the tension knowing that not even the actors know how they're going to wrap things up.
Throughout July as well you can see a bunch of more inexperienced Impro Melbourne actors have a crack at off-the-cuff performance in a show called Sideshow Spontanial that starts a little earlier than the main event at 6pm.
But it's Impro Cave itself that is the draw here - relaxed and funny, this is affordable and enjoyable entertainment.