The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 21, 2022

Review: ‘Rex’s Exes’ hilarious farce

J. THOMAS/for the Van Wert independent

Rex’s Exes, the sequel to The Red Velvet Cake Wars revisits the calamity-prone Verdeen cousins. Peaches (Monica Campbell), the character’s unfulfilled needs once again playing an important role in the comedy. Campbell doesn’t disappoint when delivering some of the production’s best lines. Gaynelle (Terri Stevens) gives a solid performance of a woman trying to find peace amidst chaos. She conveys the character’s never ending frustration without ever making her seem bitter or indignant. Jimmie Wyvette (Lisa Eichler) is more confident and more determined in Rex’s Exes, and Eichler is a perfect choice to help underscore that transformation.

Joelle May and Chris Lybold during a scene from the Van Wert Civic Theatre production of "Rex's Exes."  (VWCT photo)
Joelle May and Chris Lybold during a scene from the Van Wert Civic Theatre production of “Rex’s Exes.”
(VWCT photo)

Peaches thinks she is seeing the ghost of her late husband, Rex, while Jimmie Wyvette has opened her own bridal shop for “big-boned gals,” Wide Brides, trying to impress the governor’s wife, Mary Yackey, who falls into the Verdeen trap and ends up with her own can of RediWhip.

Gaynelle has overcome her latest mental breakdown. “Mental breakdown, menopause … have you ever noticed that our misery comes from ‘men’?” Meddling Aunt LaMerle (Joelle May) is still determined to save the family’s reputation from the Verdeen girls — this time by revealing a family secret in order to crack the ranks of the elite Daughters of the Nation of Texas.

Dave Ricker, who plays Rex, does an amazing job with the comedy demanded from this role and his costume changes are, let’s just say, memorable. Chris Lybold defines his role as Uncle Aubrey with such expertise you really believe he is an 80-plus elderly man. You have to come to the show to see the surprise Mama Doll has for you, and played so well by … well if I revealed this to you, it would be a true spoiler! The audience will truly be surprised by the “actor/actress” playing Mama!

Reprising her role as the cable TV host, Cee Cee, Jewell Kurtz does an amazing job and the transformation to her dual character, Bitsy, is so well done one has to look twice to make sure it’s really her. In Rex’s Exes the introduction of a New Age therapist, Gentle Harmony (Carol Snyder) accidentally causes both Gaynelle and Jimmie Wy to reveal their own romantic secret.

The pleasant surprise and standout performance to this production is the addition of a Cajun bounty hunter expertly played by Burdette Bolenbaugh. Bolenbaugh portrays this character so well one actually believes he is Wild Bill the Bounty hunter.

Under the direction of Steve Lane, each and every member of this ensemble has mastered comedic timing in order to emphasize the absolute absurdity of the situations. Rex’s Exes is more than just a series of one-liners and running gags: Much of the humor in this production derives from the complexities of these characters, and the cast has done a superb job at making them all seem very real — no matter the scope of their idiosyncrasies.

Whether you have had a bad day at work or a challenging week, there’s no way to be sad while watching this show. You will laugh because it is so funny. It is adult material, though, so leave the young ones at home. For teens and up, this is a great comedy and perfect for date night.

Show times remaining are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, January 29-31 and February 1.

Tickets are $10 for adults and can be purchased at the theater box office, 118 S. Race St. in Van Wert, one hour prior to show time or order by phone at 419.238.9689, Monday through Saturday, from 2-6 p.m. Those interested can also visit the Van Wert Civic Theatre Facebook page or the organization’s website, www.vwct.org.

POSTED: 01/26/15 at 8:25 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News