5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche
Powerhouse Visy Theatre
February 3 – 8 2015
Reviewed by Xanthe Coward
Earth may be on the brink of destruction, But NOTHING could be worse than… MEAT IN A QUICHE!
It’s 1956 and the Cold War is at it’s peak. Western civilisation is under constant threat of Communist attack, and Nuclear War is an ever-present fear for most citizens of the United States of America. But even total annihilation won’t stop the charming widows of the Susan B Anthony Society For The Sisters of Gertrude Stein from getting together and celebrating at their annual Quiche Breakfast.
What a great night! It’s taken me a while to get back to it!
Sorry for the delay; there’s a LOT to catch up on before February finishes. (After February, IT REALLY WILL BE 2015. So I’d better get a move on).
5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche was nothing like I had expected it to be – I don’t know what I had expected it to be – and I’m glad we got to the final show of the season, having left Noosa rather late (for Sunday afternoon southbound traffic that is), at 4:15pm. Incredibly, we had time to spare, and picked up a couple of drinks from Bar Alto before making our way downstairs to the Visy, where we were promptly greeted by primped and preened cast members in gorgeous 50s pinup frocks, pumps and red lippy. Exquisite! The premise is simple and the set is plain. We’re welcomed by members of the Susan B Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, and given a sticker with a name printed on it (I’m Joyce. Sam is Evelyn. Some poor sod in the front row is Marjory, the brunt of all the best jokes), and ushered into the theatre, which is our bomb shelter…for the next four years.
I was thrown, I’ll admit, not by hugs & kisses because long lost friends you guys; we only see some of them in theatre foyers, but by our name tags. Everyone knows that Nathanael Cooper dislikes audience interaction as much as I do. MAYBE EVEN MORE THAN I DO. SOOOOO… WHAT THE?!
5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche seems a strange, but not, first option for a producer’s Brisbane debut (if I were to tell you the full story, it ain’t the first choice, but these things happen for a reason). This show boasts a stellar all-girl cast and it’s very funny, but it’s not an obvious winner due to its style and content.
Imprint Theatricals (Nathanael Cooper and Sean Bryan) are new on the scene but they are certainly not newcomers to our local industry. This is a bold, calculated debut and one which proves they’re here to stay, come hell or, dare I say it, high floodwaters.
I will admit, I know 3 of the 5 cast members, and I’ve seen a 4th gorgeous gal before so only Ginny is new to me. (Ginny was new to the show, having stepped in and saved the day with only two or three days to rehearse! Impressive!). It’s a terrific, fun, free and wild-at-heart tied-to-the-kitchen-sink ensemble; these girls sure know how to party put on a show! If it were not for Sam’s early on-air start, I would have been more than happy, after the 75-minute performance, to fangirl for a good long while over Lauren Jackson, Samantha Turk, Catherine Alcorn, Ellen Bailey and Meghan Clarke. Offers of overnight accommodation always welcome. Rydges? Emporium? Anyone?
As matriarch and founder of the association, Alcorn is a comedic force, effortlessly bringing the funny and the element of surprise to proceedings. But she’s not alone and Jackson, with just one of her eyebrows, almost steals the show. Her character is so fearsome and so delicious, that even if you are not inclined, I’m sure you could be persuaded to sample some of what’s on offer here (IT SEEMS IT’S NOT JUST THE QUICHE)… And THAT is the mark of a good performer. Oh yes, sometimes there is quite simply magic to behold.
Turk weaves her own subtle magic. We’ve not seen her for a while but we’re glad she’s back! Turk has a way of stepping assuredly in and out of the foreground that swings our focus between whatever is happening and her part in it. Her comic timing is exceptional.
Bailey’s role comes to a strangely shocking conclusion, but she makes her mark well before her mark is left…she’s truly hilarious. Without suspension of disbelief these creatures are altogether a little OTT but each woman, with tongue placed firmly in cheek, makes her story plausible. Or, should we say, tongue in quiche. Ginny gets her delicious tabletop moment (we all need a tabletop moment!), and I notice a minimum of shockwaves coursing through the closing night audience members; more like unexpected, horrified delight! We’re shocked! And intrigued and…wondering, “Wow, how is that quiche feeling right now?” That’s right. EXACTLY what it sounds like. Quiches have needs too, you guys.
This show is fast and fun and really silly; Sam says he is certain there is meaning in it somewhere but really, who gives a quiche?
It’s an irreverent piece, unlike anything we’ve seen, with just enough grit, and the few slow points in the piece more to do with the writing than with anything else. It’s actually terribly American, but not, and we end up standing together – banding together – to proclaim, in the original Spartan manner, “I’m lesbian!”
The abrupt ending is not entirely satisfying, and we are left to wonder who will survive and how, but in the meantime, we are assured that whatever we are feeling is OKAY. AND THAT’S REASSURING, ISN’T IT?