RIB-TICKLING humour, the double entendre, delivery and antics of some of the performers are elements that have sustained calypso tents over the years.
These are the ingredients, no doubt, which kept calypso lovers glued to their seats at the Kaiso Showkase at Palms Club, San Fernando, from beginning to end.
From the opening act by debutante Curlissa Charles Mapp singing Fully Home Grown, to the end, with the provocatively dressed Sexy C, Crystal Mitcham, in a lacy white romper offering some raunchy advice and demonstration to the ladies to Do The Right Thing so no woman can take their man, the sold-out audience was entertained.
In between, newcomers and the experienced kept the pace with some of the stars, like Kerice Pascall, Ronaldo London, Angela Didier, Tamika Darius and Victoria Cooper Rahim, shining brightly.
Attorney, politician and third-place winner in the 2018 Calypso Monarch competition Rondell Donowa earned several encores after he delivered a social commentary, Hang Them High, a different spin on the pro-death-penalty slogan, suggesting the portraits of local heroes and icons be hung high at places of importance so young people can emulate them.
He got assistance from the Kaisoca Moko Jumbies, dressed in the national colours and holding up portraits of calypsonians, sporting and political heroes.
The tent's management also presented awards to former culture minister Joan Yuille-Williams, Ann-Maureen Donawa and calypso judge Hugh Grant for their contribution over the years.
The 25-member cast, led by Ras Kommanda and backed up by Razor Sharp band, offered topical issues in social, political and humorous commentary, with a sprinkling of chutney/soca and an injection of vintage blended with pop and soul melodies.
Topics ranged from the Tobago sea and air bridge fiasco, the closure of Petrotrin, the runaway crime situation, tribute to late icons Winston "Shadow" Bailey, Winston Scarborough, The Original De Fosto Himself; and the questionable judging system.
MC Damion Melville kept the tent lively with his side-splitting humour and interaction with the audience. Queen Victoria and Lynette Steele aka Lady Gypsy offered biting lyrics, enough to make politicians cringe, in David Rudder's words.
Queen Victoria's delivery of Suspect Band delved into allegations of corruption and wrongdoing by politicians, speculating that they might just end up in the blue (police) band.
Lady Gypsy, dubbed the Dragon Lady, put her melodious spin on the challenge by the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal to "meet me on the pavement.’’
"But wait nah, is not me he come to meet, is Moonilal the man come to beat," she sang, also earning encores.
But the night really belonged to Randolph Hilaire, who sings under the sobriquet Count Robin, and Mr Mack (Victor Mc Donald), who both left the audience in stitches.
Adopting a kind of "Shadow-esque" posture, the count, with a serious, bearded face, topped with a hat, stood before the microphone to deal with the unfair judges with adjectives that should be left to the imagination. So mad was the count that he voiced a wish to put the judges in four cars, take then up to Mt Olga and push the four cars off the cliff.
The audience could not get enough of the veteran Mr Mack, who has never failed to amuse with his witty compositions, this time about his experience of massaging the Macco Lillian, who had a pain in her knee.
The antics as he touched certain spots and the "ooh’s" and "aah’s" the touch elicited as she begged him to "mash it up" had a calypso connoisseur knocking a beer bottle on the stage and demanding encore after encore after encore.