Pokes and jabs, particularly at politicians, are typically among the highlights of the annual Rundown show, and this year is no exception.
The opening number featured members of the cast wearing larger-than-life photos of each of the main politicians who have made the headlines over the past year, with their arguments with one another set to a traditional calypso-style melody. What could be more topical than the up-to-the minute observations concerning the premier’s disagreement with the leader of the opposition?
All topics are ripe for Rundown, and while many are one-offs, others appear in the show year in and year out. One of those favorites is the misunderstandings that arise over differently pronounced English words – a mish-mash of hilarious confusion that comes from the clash of the different kinds of dialect that we often hear in Cayman. This year, it was played out in a hilarious skit featuring a voice-operated lift.
The show, which opened on May 7, is being staged throughout the month at the Harquail Theatre.
For the likely few who don’t know what Rundown is, the words of its theme song neatly sum it up: “The Cayman Islands today is fascinating in every way, so once a year we have to sit down, and laugh at all of it in Rundown.”
The collection of funny skits, songs and monologues based around Cayman society – people from many different countries “shooting the breeze” alongside “born and bred” Caymanians, is directed, designed and written by Henry Muttoo, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s artistic director. Like many of CNCF’s productions, it’s a natural nurturing place for homegrown talent.
Among the show’s stars, Matt Brown dazzled with each song he sang, or each line he delivered. Along with Leroy Holness and Priscilla Pouchie – now both Rundown veterans – Jevaughnie Ebanks also had great stage presence and a good singing voice.
While some of the jokes can appear abrasive, it is only because they seem to hit the nail on the head regarding the truth of a situation. Dave Martins, who began Rundown in 1991, always said, “The things we say from the stage about someone, we should be able to say to their faces.” It is, essentially, the inclusive kind of laughter that heals rather than hurts.
At intermission, I asked some members of the audience what they thought of the show so far.
“Fabulous; hilarious, brilliant,” were some of the adjectives used. “Spot on, its always brilliant,” said Sidney Coleman, who, along with the rest of his family, makes it a priority to visit Rundown every year.
Toward the end, all the cast members joined in one of the show’s staple songs, “That’s Cayman,” which celebrates all that’s still wonderful about these islands.
“Look out on the water and see various shades of blue – to walk the road at night and find nobody bothers you … looking for crabs with a small flashlight – that’s Cayman. Nobody in town after nine at night, that’s Cayman. A nation is a people living all the lives they choose, celebrating when they win, crying when they lose, that’s Cayman.”
Rundown is staged Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 6 p.m. through May 31. Tickets are $25, or $15 for youth/seniors, available from Funky Tang’s, Foster’s supermarkets, and the Cayman National Cultural Foundation offices.