‘Burrito Filled With E. coli’ is easy to digest

L to R: Andrea Alton, as Molly “Equality” Dykeman, and Allen Warnock, as Angie Louisa Angelone. Photo by Jenny Rubin.
L to R: Andrea Alton, as Molly “Equality” Dykeman, and Allen Warnock, as Angie Louisa Angelone. Photo by Jenny Rubin.

BY SCOTT STIFFLER | The ominous title implies a severe adverse reaction — but “A Microwaved Burrito Filled With E. coli” finds its sweet spot early on, stays there, and earns an “A” rating by the time your 60-minute inspection has run its course.

All is anything but quiet at Enchilada’s Shelly’s, a Mexican restaurant as low on the Yelp! review food chain as it is far along on the L train’s Brooklyn spectrum. Entering the side area dining room with very little grace and an instantly endearing lack of self-awareness, pill-popping, mullet-rockin’ security guard/poet Molly “Equality” Dykeman defiantly chicken dances away from the general direction of her pissed-off girlfriend, Giselle, and the rowdy lesbian wedding reception she’s just been kicked out of.

Doomed to spend the rest of the night in exile, unsinkable Molly turns her attention to the menu and attempts to engage recent Kentucky transplant Angie Louisa Angelone, a chipper but woefully unqualified waitress whose entire wardrobe comes from a shopping spree at Jack’s 99 Cent Store. Between bouts of absorbing verbal abuse from her offstage manager (“Get your trashy little butt in here and take this tray of fishy tacos!”), Angie pours her heart out to Molly, and the broadly drawn outcasts end up forming a bond that’s as sweet and believable as the verbal sparring is fast and consistently funny.

Written by its two performers, the dynamic between Molly (Andrea Alton) and Angie (Allen Warnock) really shouldn’t work, at least according to the universal rules of comedy adhered to by successful duos. Both characters are prone to long-winded stories, and both yearn to be the center of attention — and whether the product of wishful thinking or obliviousness, both are prone to delusion and intense (if brief) bouts of depression. The “straight man/funny man” identities that the likes of Laurel and Hardy or Martin and Lewis clung to for the duration of their careers, Alton and Warnock gleefully toss back and forth like a hot potato — and director Mark Finley’s deft touch allows these exchanges to play out with elegant simplicity, communicating the change in status with nothing more than a knowing glance or the choice of who’s sitting and who’s standing.

The result is a raucous, engaging comedy that consistently nails its aspiration to entertain, while allowing its characters to reveal hidden depths (transwoman Angie puts the “Q” in LGBTQ, while hard-living Molly veers back and forth between making a commitment and being committed). Here’s the part where I’d usually gush to the point of overflow with killer lines from the script (of which there are plenty), but your time would be better spent making reservations — to the show, that is. Best to give Enchilada’s Shelly’s a wide berth, though. You DO NOT want to know what’s in that burrito.

Runtime: 60 minutes. Fri., Aug. 19, 5pm; Sat., Aug. 20, 7pm; Wed., Aug. 24, 8pm.; Fri., Aug. 26, 3:45pm. At The Huron Club (15 Vandam St., btw. Sixth Ave. & Varick St.). For tickets ($18), visit fringenyc.org. Also visit amicrowavedburrito.com.