995092_10152809728111107_5540082581424615600_nBy Manning Harris

Pinch ‘n’ Ouch Theatre is presenting Darlene Craviotto’s “Pizza Man,” directed by Grant McGowen, assisted by Julie Shaer, running through Feb. 15.

I would call it a midwinter sex comedy, a frolic for adults, perhaps a sort of warm-up for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which is about to descend on us at the movies.

It’s being staged in the theatre’s snazzy new location in East Atlanta. They retain their trademark intimacy, but now the audience can almost look down on the action, while remaining very close.

Julie (Jackie Costello) and Alice (Alessandra Scarcia) are two young women who are roommates, and neither is faring very well with the men in their lives. Julie’s just lost her job for refusing to sleep with her employer; Alice’s boyfriend has gone back to his wife.

Julie is seeking way too much solace from the bottle (as in drinking), while Alice is trying to eat everything in sight, much to Julie’s disapproval. The two women are quite strident at first, and they’re doing rather poorly in the consolation department.

Instead, they unite in their condemnation of the entire male sex, and hit upon the cockamamie idea of raping a man, any man, in their “righteous vengence” on males (one of them declares a woman is raped every seven minutes).

As it happens, a very nice young married man who delivers pizza (Alice is still starving) becomes their intended victim. His name is Eddie (Matt Baum). He is exactly the kind of man each would love to know (in the Biblical sense) under ordinary circumstances, but these are anything but.

We have moved easily in the farcical arena (e.g., Eddie is tied up with Christmas tree lights, but patiently (and naively) explains to Julie and Alice that a man cannot be raped, unless willing, and then it isn’t rape). Come again?

If all this is starting to sound ridiculous, rest assured that this light, short play is made palatable, even fun, by its three charming, attractive, and talented actors. Ms. Costello is funny, energetic, magnetic, and beautiful. Ms. Scarcia is making her debut with the company, and it’s a welcome one. She’s unafraid to swing for the fences when the part calls for it, and the two women work well together.

Mr. Baum’s Eddie, self-possessed and attractive, is the calm at the center of the storm. I look forward to seeing him in bigger roles; he’s talented and will only get better and better.

A flyer for “Pizza Man” says “Warning: Contains Spicy Material—For Mature Audiences Only.” There are sex toys flying in the air and plenty of latex. Enough said.

The play itself, I must say, reads somewhat like a work in progress; but if you let your hair down and just go with the flow, these actors will show you a fun time. Pinch ‘n’ Ouch has never been afraid to walk on the wild side, and that’s cause for relief and rejoicing.

For tickets and information, visit pnotheatre.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.