Playful improv with Leave it to Cleavage

This all-star cast was nominated for their hilarious improv theatre skills

Leave it to Cleavage plays the Chilliwack Cultural Centre Nov. 6.

Leave it to Cleavage plays the Chilliwack Cultural Centre Nov. 6.

Life is all about improvising.

It’s also something the show Leave it to Cleavage takes to heart! The gut-bustingly hilarious improv theatre hits the HUB International Theatre stage on November 6.

Buckle up, because they’re more than ready to run the audience through the wringer of “common sense”—which, as their 1950s housewife alter egos will tell you, involves perky attitudes, prim satin dresses, and just a touch of self-medication.

“It’s like we’re hosting a giant cocktail party, but it’s actually an intervention for the audience because we feel they’ve lost their morals,” Leave it to Cleavage co-founder Diana Frances says. “We break the fourth wall, and we speak directly to the audience as though they’re guests at our dinner party. It’s very playful, it’s very interactive, and we’re making a good deal of it up on the spot!”

This all-star cast (Diana Frances, Ellie Harvie, Denise Jones, and Christine Lippa) has been nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Improv Group, and it’s obvious why—the four performers come from a background in Second City Theatricals, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Improv Olympics, and Vancouver TheatreSports.

The four of them are dynamite.

Harvie and Frances adopt the characters of repressed 50s housewives, Lippa plays the role of sassy German neighbour, and Jones acts as a perfect foil to their perky attitudes as their deadpan Russian maid. It’s a winning combination and a recipe for success!

And of course the audience plays an important role as well; as with any improv show, the cast relies on suggestions and interjections from the audience to keep the ball rolling.

“The fun thing about improv is that we’re making it up on the spot based on their suggestions—so they’re a part of creating the show,” Frances says. “And that type of audience involvement is incredibly fun—even if you don’t end up on stage with us, you can still shout out suggestions and then feel that those suggestions are a part of the show, like you’re helping to create right along with us.”

For the second half of the show, half a dozen audience member volunteers will join the cast onstage for a battle of the sexes to answer the age-old question: who wears the pants in the family? The ensuing questions and answers promise to flip between delightful, clever, naughty, and back to hilarious in the span of just a few short minutes. It’s a riotous ride that you won’t want to miss – so don’t forget to put your name in the volunteer draw bucket during intermission if you want to represent your gender in the battle for household dominance!

“We have a really good time with the audience,” Frances says. “We treat them really well. We do all the heavy lifting; they don’t have to be funny, because we’re always going to make them look good. But we’re very good at recognizing who is willing to play and who’s more comfortable sitting in their seat.”

The performance also approaches many other crucial questions faced by the modern housewife: How do you make your marriage last? Cook a roast? Keep the neighbour’s dog out of your garden? Build a swimming pool with your bare hands? When your husband first arrives home, you should greet him with a large…?

Pumped up on martinis, hairspray, and home cooking, these manic housewives have an answer for everything—and you’d better hope that you do too! After all, as Leave it to Cleavage proudly advertises, one lucky contestant could “win a chance to win a chance to win TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!”

Leave it to Cleavage will be at the HUB International Theatre at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets  $27 for students, $29 for seniors, and $32 for adults at 604-391-SHOW (7469) or visit!

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