The extraordinary and highly amusing one-man show of Caveman by actor-producer Kevin Buckmaster is more than just a comedy about the age-old relationship between man and woman. For those living in Switzerland, his performance is also about language, community and playing to a unique international audience.
Buckmaster, who was born in Glasgow of Welsh mother and English father but raised in Geneva, performs in two languages, one night in English, the next in French. He adapts according to how his public interacts. “It’s very much a cultural thing,” explains Buckmaster, who translated the world-famous play back in 2006 into French. “The English-speaking ones tend to bond more amongst themselves and react differently to the subtleties than the French, who are attracted more to character and gesture. It’s all about musicality and counter-rhythm. They also laugh in different places. But both tend to respond to the same humour about man and woman.”
When there is a good story to tell, then you can tell it in any language, he explains. The text surprises with each performance slightly different. “There is always varied interaction not just with me, but between the members of the public themselves,” he says. “Given that everyone finds something in common with their own lives, it’s very much a community thing.” Buckmaster’s Caveman has an unusual word of mouth draw, primarily because everyone enjoys it in his or her own way, but wants to share it. It’s also worth seeing in both versions, just for the experience.
Caveman will next be performed in Lausanne on Wednesday 8 October in English and in French on 9 October.