Rundown 2009 is the 17th annual performance of the comedy revue that celebrates all things Caymanian in a two-hour laughfest at the Harquail Theatre.
This year the show makes light of recent events, including political showdowns that continue as Election Day approaches, the cultural differences between Cayman and North America and the recent downturn in the global economy.
It is refreshing to take a moment to sit back and realise that humour can be found in a number of stressful situations that otherwise threaten to overwhelm.
Dave Martins, the play’s writer, and Henry Muttoo, its director, have put together a production that does not overstep boundaries but still surprises and shocks audiences, ensuring much laughter.
With a talented cast of actors, the production is representative of the array of talent available in Cayman.
One standout is Leroy Holness, who has been performing on the Cayman stage since 1980. His skit with Kathy Miller, in which he teaches her Jamaican at Leroy’s Helocution Hacademy, is hilarious and Ms Miller should also be praised for her ability to ‘speak’ Jamaican so well.
Brian Braggs pulls off an accomplished and flawless representation of an older Caymanian. From his hunched-over stance to his trembling voice, he never breaks character throughout his skits and has heads nodding in recognition as a tourist from the US attempts to retrieve directions from him only to find that instead of road names, he gives her local landmarks, such as ‘the large breadfruit tree’, ‘the house with the white picket fence’ and other such reference points.
Rita Estevanovich has been with Rundown since 1996 and is now spreading her wings. Having started in dance and launched into acting, this year she tries her hand at singing with a cabaret act advising people to apply to UCCI for a credit card.
The set should also be acknowledged, as it is very often as much a character in a scene as the actors. A catboat, loaned by the Cayman Islands Catboat Club, sits onstage for the duration of the show, and whether used as a prop or simply as a backdrop it adds a distinct old-Cayman feel to the play.
The main point about the stage, however, is the simplicity of its set-up. There aren’t backdrops to pull up and drop down and skit changes are usually signalled by the changing of a sign, rather than anything more elaborate or time-consuming.
This works for a number of reasons. The first is that the play would lose its ‘flow’ if set changes were to occur between every skit. Secondly, the simplicity of the set allows the actors and dialogue to shine through, keeping the audience’s focus on the humour of the action rather than the set.
Also, the signs provide all the information the audience needs for a skit. Signs reading ‘Labour Office’ or ‘Leroy’s Helocution Hacademy’ tell the audience members all that they need to know about each skit’s setting.
One skit that failed to impress involved a drunk driver and a policewoman. The skit showed the policewoman, a recovering alcoholic, being wooed by the drunk driver into drinking with him. It is important to keep a sense of humour but the amusement of this scenario was lost on me.
It was also surprising that there wasn’t more said of the scandals and fiascos of the past year.
That aside, this year’s Rundown remains a must-see. Having run for 17 years, it is a Caymanian tradition and one that is anticipated each year.
Rundown continues to attract audiences of both locals, expats and tourists, who, even though they may not understand some of the skits relating to local politicians and personalities, can still enjoy the wealth of other comedic material and the quality of its presentation.
Rundown is playing at the Harquail Theatre every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening until 15 March.
Tickets cost $15 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under. For tickets and more information, contact the CNCF office at 949-5477.