Off the Cuff aims for the funny side of family drama with upcoming performance

Off the Cuff Improv makes things awkward on Friday with ‘An Awkward Family Christmas’ at Shananigan’s Coffee and Dessert Bar. -- Connie Johnson/Connie J Photography

Things are getting awkward this Christmas for Off the Cuff Improv.

On Friday, the local comedy group returns with ‘An Awkward Family Christmas’, an interactive dinner theatre show at Shananigan’s Coffee and Dessert Bar.

This will be Off the Cuff’s first time performing the piece since 2017, and group member Adreanna Boucher said they’re eager to bring it to life.

“For good or bad, it’s fun to kind of poke fun at people and laugh at people,” Boucher said. “We all have the family members who offer their own brand of entertainment at family functions in whatever way, so this sort of thing gives them permission to laugh at some of our ridiculous habits.

“The title is Awkward Family Christmas, so you should leave your offended button at home,” she added. “There might be things that might be a little shocking I guess … but it’s all in good fun.”

Friday’s show will feature three acts performed between courses. While, guests eat, Boucher said Off the Cuff actors will mingle with the audience.

“We’re like the embodiment of certain stereotypes, so we’ll be in character the whole time, interacting with the audience,” she explained. “The more involved the audience gets with us and more they embrace us at their table, literally or figuratively, the more fun they’re going to have.”

Off the Cuff and Shananigan’s will partner with the Saskatchewan Seniors Fitness Association (SSFA) for Friday’s show. SSFA representative Barry Brezden said they’ve hosted successful events with Off the Cuff before, and that inspired them to try dinner theatre.

“Jen (Shananigan’s owner and head chef Jeannette Kindzerski) said PA needs to have something like dinner theatre,” Brezden explained. “She hadn’t put one on for quite some time (and) Adreanna was excited about getting that production … shown again, because it hadn’t been done for a long time. I said, ‘well, we should have an event. Let’s put it together and see where it goes.”

“We always liked this script,” Boucher added. “It’s a fun story, and really a fun and unique thing to do for Christmas. When Barry asked me if maybe we could do a show together sometime, he was really wanting to team up with Shennanigans and do something…. This was the first one that came to mind as being a good fit.”

Friday’s show is already sold out. Brezden said he expected there to be high demand, but was pleasantly surprised at how quickly tickets sold.

The response has inspired the SSFA to partner with Off the Cuff for more shows next year.

“We could have probably put on a second show,” he said. “We won’t this year, but next year we’re looking at having three events.”

Boucher said they’re eager to perform more interactive dinner theatre too. She’s hopeful Friday’s performance will be springboard for future events.

“We’ll see how this one goes and what the feedback is like for,” she said.

“We have a whole series of shows like Medieval Feast and mock weddings and murder mysteries that we’re hoping to have some opportunity to perform, for sure.”

‘An Awkward Family Christmas’ begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1. The doors open at 6 p.m.