5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which will be returning as part of the FringeNYC Encores series at the SoHo Playhouse, has a wacky charm. Set in the 1950s, the satirical comedy details the extraordinary events that occur at an annual quiche breakfast held by the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein.
As you enter the theater, each audience member -- regardless of gender -- is given a nametag identifying him or her as one of the "widows" at the gathering (mine was Joyce). There's a bit of audience interaction involved, but it's fairly non-threatening and helps to foster the illusion that we're all there as a member of the Society.
The breakfast takes place in a nuclear fallout shelter, and the initially lighthearted tone turns darker as a siren goes off and the gathered women are suddenly faced with the threat of nuclear disaster. Questions arise such as, who will save an endangered cat? How will they repopulate the human race? And most importantly, what will they do if they have no more eggs to make quiche?
The script, co-written by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood, is not as sharp as it could be. The humor comes across as a bit one-dimensional, certain jokes fall flat, and a cheesy flashback narrated by Vern (Thea Lux) does not have the comic or dramatic payoff that it needs.
However, all five performers do their utmost to make it work with their hysterically outsized performances. Caitlin Chuckta as Ginny is the clear standout, possessing an intensely comic stare and a full commitment to every action -- including the hilarious quiche eating sequence of the play's title.
-- Dan Bacalzo