Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Case of the Ex! balances comedy with women's choices

Published:Tuesday | June 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
Dahlia Harris, who wrote 'Case of the Ex!' and also plays Cyattie.
Kadeem Wilson, who plays DJ Cheetah.
Alexandra Gregory, who plays Dymond in 'Case of the Ex!'
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Case of the Ex! was expected to be a comedy that explored that awkward, annoying situation of a past relationship that refuses to stay there. However, the production managed to present a story that while overlaid on the love triangle trope, excavated enough mettle to be considered an exploration of women in the contemporary space and the dichotomous expectations of them choosing to be either a career woman or a housewife.

Centred around DJ Cheetah (played by Kadeem Wilson), Dymond (Alexandra Gregory), and DJ Cyattie (Dahlia Harris), Case of the Ex! was carried by a compelling cast of three on the small stage at the Jamaica Shopping Club Theatre (formerly Green Gables Theatre) on Cargill Avenue, St Andrew, offering strident social commentary through a situational-comedic circumstance.

DJ Cheetah is a young music producer struggling to reclaim his popularity in the music industry, while his girlfriend, Dymond, struggles to find her own recording voice. Cheetah then recruits his ex-girlfriend, Cyattie - a figure from his past who is in large part responsible for his previous popularity - to help him make it to the top of a song competition. However, she has her eyes on another prize.

There were hilarious moments, with newcomer Gregory commanding the prim-and-proper demeanour of Dymond, tossing in some physical comedy to boot. She even demonstrated a penchant for musical theatre, a worthy move at this early stage of her career. The more seasoned player, Wilson, fully embraced the role of Cheetah, pulling bursts of laughter from the audience even while vocally silent in his space on the stage. Harris, entering the stage as Cyattie, was a demonstration of Jamaican theatrical experience. Donning a bright-red wig, Cyattie laid down amusing dancehall flows and ghetto fabulous preoccupations, to the delight of the house

And then there were sobering moments. As it normally goes when women are pitted against each other, the blows went low and the scratches cut deep. However, Harris' writing found topics in which to ground the women's contention, with other offerings such as the career women and one who chooses to stay at home.

When The Gleaner visited the production on Sunday, the audience was small. In this case, the size of the crowd created its own palpable and pleasant atmosphere, adding more memorable moments from the play than the action on stage. Some patrons in the back of the room played their own self-created roles, attempting to break the fourth wall (the separation between stage and audience) themselves. During the second half of the play, men's and women's voices alike arose in quick, often hilarious quips suggesting what Cheetah, Dymond, or Cyattie ought to do.

Case of the Ex! runs on Fridays at 8:30 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.