Photo by Colleen Albrecht
There’s nothing in Sassy Mamas by Celeste Bedford Walker that you haven’t seen in a variety of cable sitcoms. What we have are three African-American women friends of a certain age, living in the same luxury Washington D.C. apartment building, who find themselves on their own, relationship-wise. Instead of finding a nice hobby, they would like to explore the delights of younger black men. And we ain’t talking about their ability to shovel out the driveway.
With that premise the jokes almost write themselves, and playwright Bedford doesn’t get in the way, keeping the dialog crisp, the punch line set-ups clear and the laughs plentiful. Even though there’s nothing really new here, sometimes it’s cozy to settle back into some familiar comedic territory and roll around in it for a while.
Happily, director Tony Sias has assembled nearly the perfect cast for this show. To be clear, that doesn’t mean these six folks are the best actors around. But it does mean that the three women (Kimberly Sias, Jeanne Madison and Rebecca Morris) and the three guys (Michael Head, Cameron Woods and Bryon Tobin) are ideally matched with each other.
The ladies are beautiful but they also credibly look their age—one is a recent widow, one a divorcee, and one a career woman (the President’’s National Security Advisor, no less). And the gentlemen are three interesting and quite different versions of the type known as seriously hot.
If you don’t have six people like that, this show isn’t getting off the ground. But beyond that, each of the performers is talented enough to bring out the humor of the script without losing track of their characters.
In short, it is a tight and enjoyable ride, augmented by a classy scenic design and drop-dead gorgeous costumes, all of which is designed by Inda Blatch-Geib.
So if you want to explore the land where cougars (er, “black panthers”) prowl, Sassy Mamas is just the ticket.
Through March 4 at Karamu House, 2355 East 89 St., 216-795-7070, karamuhouse.org.