Theater Artists Olympia’s 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche might be one of the most difficult reviews I’ve ever written, because I don’t want to give anything away, and this insanely funny romp is so full of surprises that I can hardly say anything without divulging something you should not know before going to see it. What I can say without spoiling anything is that it is an all-female cast directed by Hannah Eklund, and that it takes place in 1956 in a strange room designed by Michael Christopher and Mariah Smith that is a combination community center and fallout shelter.
It’s more than empty laughter. Eklund explains: “Sometimes, when it feels like the worst thing in the world has happened, it opens a door to your authentic self. Maybe it’s because you feel like you have nothing to lose. Maybe it’s because you’re forced to be your own best advocate. Maybe it’s because, in spite of feeling like your world has ended, you’re still standing.”
The five characters are Ginny Cadbury (Dana Winter), Dale Prist (Katelyn Hoffman), Wren Robin (Heather Christopher), Vern Schultz (Samantha Chandler) and Lulie Stanwyck (Meghan Goodman). They’re the officers of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, and it’s the day of their annual quiche breakfast. These women love quiche. They love quiche more than anyone in the history of the world has ever loved quiche. And they worship the egg because the egg is the main ingredient in quiche, and they worship chickens because chickens lay eggs. And everything said or done in reference to quiche, eggs or chickens is most likely a double or triple entendre.
That’s it. That’s all I’m going to put out there plot-wise. Oh, and there’s some audience participation.
The cast is outstanding. Most of them vamp to high heaven. There’s a camera in the room, and the “sisters” keep posing for the camera. This is especially true of Christopher as Wren and Goodman as Lulie, both of whom come across to the audience as sorority sisters pretending to be Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell; and of Hoffman, who plays Dale as innocently flirtatious and something of an airhead. Winter’s Ginny doesn’t carry on as outrageously as her sorority sisters. She’s from Manchester, England and is quiet and shy until she bursts out in a most hilarious way, which I don’t dare give away. Chandler’s Vern is more self-contained and not as flighty as the others. Her humor is subtler, but she also bursts out wildly in a most unexpected manner.
The script by Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder is hilarious and inventive, and it provides for a lot of improvisation. And this quintet of highly professional actors flows with scripted and unscripted dialogue and action seamlessly.
I warned earlier there’s audience participation. I know that scares some people or at the least makes them uncomfortable. But the way it’s done here is in no way intimidating. The mythical fourth wall vanishes the moment we walk into the theater, and the characters kindly welcome us into the society — no pressure whatsoever. Unless your name is … Well, no, I can’t give that away, either.
I recommend you purchase tickets online and do it early. Opening night was almost sold out, and the buzz around this show is such that tickets might be hard to come by for those who don’t hurry.
What: 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
Where: The Midnight Sun Performance Space,
113 Columbia St. NW, Olympia
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays – Saturdays,
2:30 p.m. Sunday through July 1
How much: $12-$15