MIRROR, MIRROR: Rawlins, photographed for TALLAWAH, October 2012.
In the lighthearted marital dramedy When the Cat's Away, Peter Heslop and Nadean Rawlins play George and Mildred, a low-income, middle-aged couple grappling with a lull in their relationship. The rosy promise of a by-air getaway to Negril to spice things up, despite George's baffling reluctance, appears to be the perfect antidote. That is, until family interrupts everything.
When Mildred's hoity-toity sister Ethel (Christina Wallace) comes a-calling, with her cheap perfume and a suitcase in tow, to escape her philandering husband Humphrey (David Crossgill), it sets into motion a befuddling, intermittently hilarious sequence of events, which culminate in what wouldn't be out of place on an episode of TV's Wife Swap.
Adapted and directed from the British original by Pablo Hoilett (Pularchie), the show yields fair results from its easy-breezy exploration of, kith and kin aside, weightier themes like adultery and intricate human relationships. The performances, particularly Rawlins as the strong-willed wife and supportive sister, are largely appealing. Still, the whole thing lacks the requisite cohesion to elevate the production into an utterly engrossing affair.
The deliberate, almost pedestrian pacing robs the show of early momentum (the first half is palpably lukewarm), but you find that once the title kicks in you really start to feel the allure of the story and its innate sense of fun and playfulness. Heslop provides ample comic relief with his uniquely artistic brand of hilarity matched closely in stride and spirit by Crossgill's delightful character work. Tyrone's Verdict: B
In Memoriam: When the Cat's Away was revived at New Kingston's Theatre Place on the weekend, in tribute to fallen stage and screen veteran Calvin "Mass Jasper" Morris who, in addition to starring in the groundbreaking TV series Lime Tree Lane, portrayed George in Cat's for some 15 years.