Words and photos by Ian Swaby
It’s that time of year when Christmas cheer takes centre stage, including at the Prospect Playhouse with the annual extravaganza, A Playhouse Family Christmas.
Produced by The Cayman Drama Society, this staple of the holiday season offers a variety show all about Christmas. It is adored by viewers young and old thanks to its blend of high spirits and delightful production values. Audiences embark on a journey with Grizz, a grumpy housecat, and Frizz, a happy-go-lucky mouse, and along the way are treated to a host of colourful characters, settings, and songs, some returning and some new.
“It’s a very festive atmosphere from the minute you walk through the doors of the Prospect Playhouse,” says director Sue Howe.
“I think people over the years have come to think of Grizz, Frizz and all of the characters as their Christmas family, and that makes us extremely happy.”
A Playhouse Family Christmas began in 2014 with Sue’s modest proposal to bring a Christmas show to the stage. She created the roles of Grizz and Frizz for herself and her friend Gabrielle Wheaton as a fun concept around which an evening of entertainment could be woven involving an ensemble cast.
Sue never intended for the show to join Cayman’s annual holiday repertoire, but something about its heartfelt Christmas spirit caught on with audiences, bringing new iterations every year, each with their own twists and surprises. As always, among familiar staples such as penguins, elves, angels, wise men, reindeer, and Santa and Mrs. Claus, guests will spot new characters and cast members.
A growing fun-filled production
Sue calls it an “all-consuming” endeavour to orchestrate the production’s rich combination of elements, involving costumes, sound, lighting, props, story and script, as well as visually stunning sets from The Phoenix Group Ltd.
“We certainly try very hard to bring the best show we can to our audiences every year,” says Sue. “We try to make it as enjoyable as we can for people of all ages. I think people as a whole love Christmas, and we feel very honoured to kick-start the holiday season for them with our mix of humour, colour, fun characters, beautiful sets and of course Christmas songs.”
However, what truly brings the show to life is the good cheer of the cast and crew.
“I think the audience can also see how much we enjoy being up there and bringing them some holiday cheer,” Sue adds. “We really are a family, and I think joy is infectious. We get so much from our audiences too; they have always been wonderfully receptive and that means the world to us.”
A Playhouse Family Christmas will be staged at the Prospect Playhouse on Nov. 22, 23, 29, and 30, and on Dec. 6 and 7, at 7 pm, as well as on Nov. 24 and Dec. 4 and 8 at 4 pm.
Returning cast members include Adam Roberts, Agata Kalicki, Ben Tatum, Gabrielle Wheaton, Liam Oko, Michael McLaughlin, Neil Rooney, Pat Steward, Sue Howe, Tracey Elliott, Vijay Singhera, Zoe Overthrow, and Zoe Wall.
New cast members include Abby Viera, Amanda Viera, Catherine Maron, Chad Powell, Emma Oko, India Dawson-James, Jardae Barnes, Joe Allom-Perez, Maya Tatum, Melody Allenger, and Jose Zambrano.
Tickets can be purchased here.