Opened Sept. 23, 1993; reviewed Nov. 12; runs through Dec. 19.
Cast: Mark Broyard, Roger Guenveur Smith.
Clever in its broad comedy, “Inside the Creole Mafia” is a two-actor revue that’s worth the money. In an entertaining and enlightening look at L.A.’s Creole community, actors Roger Guenveur Smith and Mark Broyard present a personal take on the preoccupations of a mixed-blood heritage.
Utilizing an artfully lit and designed stage, which gives the right hint of much that is stereotypically New Orleans (Catholic sacraments and hot sauce, Mardi Gras decorations and cafe au lait preparations), Smith and Broyard quickly draw the audience into their inside jokes on Creole culture and tradition.
Funny and poignant are sketches on the methods of testing “good and bad hair, ” European vs. Afrocentric sensibilities, the confused yearnings of a Catholic Creole schoolboy in Leimert Park, and the pigeonholing of the Creole actor in Hollywood.
Smith and Broyard cajole the audience like they’re old friends who’ve dropped by to sit a spell. Much of the entertainment comes from their emphasis on rhythmic speech patterns as well as their biting commentary on topical issues such as the L.A. riots (treated unusually in this perspective) or black celebrities.
The only glitch is the length of some sketches; the show runs a little over 90 minutes and 15 minutes of material could be cut, thus sharpening the comedic timing.
Lighting by Todd Bakerian and scenic design by Gregory Van Horn are on target.