The Pink Caress, Keyhole Productions, Organic Theater Company Greenhouse, Lab Theater. Sex and our hypocritical attitudes about it have always been fertile sources for comedy–but only when the writer has something to say and the craft to say it. Chuck Bila has neither, and proves it in his abysmal play about “a politically correct sex shop.” In scene after scene he tries to wring laughs out of the mere mention or display of the sex toys that line the walls of the Pink Caress: cock rings, dildos, vibrators, inflatable male and female dolls. When that doesn’t work, he resorts to having his characters talk dirty, describe exotic sex practices, or do something real nasty, like mime jerking a guy off during a massage. None of which is very funny–or for that matter erotic. Especially since we don’t care about the characters or their predicament: the owner and his stable of sex workers are really just nice folks trying to keep their fun store open in a puritanical town.

To make matters worse, whoever cast and directed this show–no one’s credited in the program–filled the ensemble with comedically challenged actors who fumble even the few mildly humorous comic bits (though Kimmi Covault and Erin Toole are adept at being both funny and sexy onstage). Scott Dominion makes a particularly unlikely straight man; as the leader of the anti-Pink Caress forces he never manages to be either dangerous enough to make us fear him or loathsome enough to earn laughs when he’s exposed as a fool.

–Jack Helbig