Welcome to the annual quiche breakfast of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, a women-only institution where the quiche is worshipped and the merest mention of sausage is enough to throw five grown women into a fit of chest-beating rage.
The year is 1956 in director Sarah Gitenstein’s FringeNYC award-winning Five Lesbians Eating A Quiche. The audience and actors are all fellow “widows” (the word “lesbian” is practically outlawed) and the five comediennes address us as such, yelling and crooning at us upon their entrances to the idyllic scene of feminine domesticity on-stage— all white but for pink flowers adorning the walls and a bubblegum pink “Fallout Shelter” sign on the exit door. Each audience member is given a name-tag with a woman’s name before the start of the show and audience participation works to hilarious effect when grown men are made to come out to the crowd, “I am a lesbian!”
The riotous production combines elements of science fiction and comedy, with a kitsch B-movie aesthetic and the warm, sisterly vibe of Steel Magnolias. Innuendos abound as regards the bond between “widows,” their love of quiche, and their will to survive in an atomic apocalypse. What follows is a depiction of what happens when the fate of the repopulation of the world falls on five women who worship the egg.
Rachel Farmer is a vision of comedic perfection in pink as Lulie Stanwyck, the President of society. With a little pink hat and a deep Southern drawl, Farmer cuts off the other characters’ lines repeatedly, exerting her will as President and making her fellow sisters quake with her every angry look. She presides over “the tasting of the first quiche,” which is accompanied with an explanation that the egg is “as close to Jesus as you can get.”
Caitlin Chuckta waits anxiously for the first orgasmic bite of quiche as mousy, British member Ginny Cadbury and Thea Lux tries to calm her as Vern Schultz, the smooth-talking member in charge of atomic preparedness – as well as for most of the play’s innuendos. Maari Soursa and Megan Johns are also fantastic in the roles they originated, as the wistful Dale Prist and loving Wren Robin.
As a company, these five ladies expertly bounce off each other, and together they will have you laughing your skirts off. Although 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche is on the short side, it’s a sweet slice of kitsch comedy heaven, as delicious as a slice of radioactively warmed quiche.