Two Gentlemen Of Corona

REVIEW by Willard Manus

The two gentlemen in question are Joey Brocco (Adrian R'Mante) and Carmine Fabiano (Chris Damiano), low-level Queens mafiosi who are assigned by their capo, John Esposito (Sam Ingraffia), to oversee souvenir sales at the 1964 World's Fair. It's the chance of a lifetime for these young hoods, whose experience until now has been restricted to jukebox maintenance and cigarette smuggling (with a wee bit of homicide on the side).

We meet Joey and Carmine in the diner which serves as their hangout (the authentic set is by Tim Farmer) and which is managed by Phil (Phillip C. Curry), a street-wise African-American who makes sure not to see or hear any evil where the mob is concerned. Phil is especially circumspect around the capo when the latter stops by, with his blonde mistress Angelina (C.B. Spencer) in tow, to instruct Joey and Carmine in the ways of scamming the public.

Playwright Jim Geoghan satirizes the mafia's foibles deftly and wittily in TWO GENTLEMEN OF CORONA, which at its heart is a love story, thanks to the passionate feelings Joey and Angelina begin to evince for each other. Carmine and Phil try to talk sense to Joey, but he's too smitten to heed their advice.

Blood on the walls seems to be the inevitable result of this dangerous liason, but Geoghan has a few tricks up his sleeve and manages to keep the comedy going, in a satisfying and even touching way. He's helped immensely by his director, Henry Polic II, and by his superb cast, all of whom (joined by Michael Zemenick as a fat, fearful souvenir salesman) deliver note-perfect performances.

At the West Coast Ensemble Theatre, 522 N. LaBrea Ave. Call (323) 525-0022 or visit