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Dahlia Harris' Ol' Fyah Stick: A Hilarious Romp!

Dahlia Harris' Ol' Fyah Stick

Dahlia Harris’ Ol’ Fyah Stick is a hilarious romantic comedy, with greater emphasis on the comedy than the romance. The production is markedly different from Harris' last production, the serious and almost tragic drama, Her Last Cry, which highlights that DMH interested in offering a mixed fare to audiences. While all the productions don’t enjoy the same level of success, the company certainly can’t be accused of being a one trick, or even two-trick, pony.

Ol’ Fyah Stick, written and directed by Dahlia Harris, is pure, unadulterated fun. The first half of the play is a mere hair’s breadth away from being a complete farce (and that’s a good thing), but in the second sct it settles down dramatically, though it is no less fun. The dialogue is punchy and fast-paced and the smattering of scatological humour doesn’t hurt either.

The plot behind Ol’ Fyah Stick is the familiar story of a man and a woman, who after years of being apart finally come together in their latter years. Questions of class are then mixed in, as it is not only time that has moved in between the two of them.

Deon Silvera and Volier Johnson in Ol Fyah StickJoe and Betty have been living in near marital bliss (as husband and housekeeper) for the past few years since the death of Joe's wife. The two have rekindled the flames from their youth, but the arrival of Joe’s daughter Maggie is about to pour cold water on these flames.

Ol’ Fyah Stick has a decent set and lighting and costuming are sound. However, ithe cast that is this production’s major strength. Ol’ Fyah Stick features Volier Johnson (as Joe Moore), Deon Silvera (as Betty Lewis), Chris ‘Johnny’ Daley (who alternates with Desmond Dennis) plays Delroy Bailey and Harris tackles the role of Maggie Moore. 

Volier Johnson is ... well ... Volier Johnson and he is well-cast in this role delivering a solid, believable performance. Johnson is great at physical comedy, without being overly obvious about it. The result is that his body, especially his belly, has a major presence, and he uses it deliberately and effectively.Chris Daley and Deon Silvera ooze great chemistry

Deon Silvera does a fabulous job. While her accent slips occasionally, overall, she is a treat to watch. Her comedic timing is spot on and she has great chemistry with both Johnson and Daley. Additionally, Silvera gives an emotionally rich performance that significantly deepens the production during the second half. 

Chris ‘Johnny’ Daley is wonderfully ridiculous in this role. Daley happily pulls the production towards farce, and has the strength of physical presence to succeed at it. , Daley plays Delroy a security guard with delusions of grandeur and a romantic eye for Betty. Delroy is a bit of a trickster figure, but he also has a good heart

Volier Johnson and Dahlia HarrisHarris’ stint as Maggie is one of the rare moments where she has mis-cast herself. Although she gives a decent performance, it is leagues away from her best work. Maggie is bereft of the emotional depth one usually finds in Harris’ characters.  What results is that Harris overworks the lines and therefore often overacts, milking dramatic intensity from lines that deserve quiet delivery.

So the characters and the actors are Ol’ Fyah Stick’s strengths. While the characters initially appear to be stereotypes, they are eventually deepened, and the play reveals itself to not be as simple as it originally pretended to be. What never changes however, is its wish to be a hilarious romp.

Ol’ Fyah Stick is currently playing at The Theatre Place in New Kingston,