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Bad Day Gone Much Worse

Stage Coach offers crazy comedy about rape

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This Pizza Man brings more than a large pepperoni. Director Don Walker picked this madcap comedy by Darlene Craviotto, and orchestrates a thin plot into a fast and amazingly funny show about women and rape. Rape is seldom the subject of a comedy, I agree. What's funny is the women try to be the rapists, and the hapless pizza delivery guy is their victim. OK, it's not the best theatrical premise, but what makes it work in the Stage Coach Theatre production is the dynamite cast.

Nova Calverley is the angry Julie, who has just been sacked from her job because she wouldn't hit the sack with the boss. Calverley is an impressive and intense actress and manages to win audience sympathy even while being unpleasant and rude as she and her roommate Alice bicker. Although Julie is downing the booze ferociously, she never slurs a word or even staggers. But she does get some weird ideas.

Katie Preston is sensational as the hyper Alice, whose boyfriend has just gone back to his wife. She too is in a rage, and vulnerable to the dynamic influence of Julie. When unhappy, Alice wants to go into an eating frenzy, but to her horror, there is nothing in the house to eat. Preston manages to make the fluffy-brained Alice an entrancing charmer, with ponytails on each side of her head bouncing fiercely and her huge, expressive eyes looking constantly surprised. She talks with the rhythm of a machine gun and her smile lights up the stage.

The two women work beautifully together, making the dialogue seem clever and the situation important. Julie wants revenge; Alice wants food. Julie decides to rape some guy--any guy, and Alice decides to order pizza. So they decide to rape the pizza delivery guy.

Jason Roper as Eddie arrives with the pizza and a friendly grin. He's not against a quick drink with the gorgeous girls, (while his undelivered pizzas get "stiff") but he gets more than he bargained for. The show gets funnier and funnier as he talks about his life, studying to be a priest and being a veteran, while Julie manhandles him and Alice gets cold feet, even in her fuzzy pink slippers. Roper is another charmer, even in his bizarre situation.

Somehow the girls get him tied up, Alice dons an outrageous hooker outfit complete with five-inch heels, a fright wig and a red feather boa, and tries bumping and grinding to get Eddie in the mood but to no avail. Eddie convinces them that "women can't rape," and the show wanders into a surge of psychoanalyzing, and discussions of women's rights and the characters' sex lives.

It sounds odd, but actually the dialog is hilarious. You may never get the chance to see a comic show about rape again, so feminist or not, don't miss the spicy Pizza Man.

Pizza Man, by Darlene Craviotto, directed by Don Walker, rated R. Runs Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, and Sept. 7-9. Stage Coach Theatre, in Hillcrest Plaza at Orchard and Overland. Curtain at 8:15 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 7:30 p.m. on Thur.; 2 p.m. matinee on Sept. 3. Tickets $12 Fri.-Sat.; $10 Thur. and matinee. For reservations, call 342-2000.