A fun part of an already hilarious production often comes by way of imagination of what exists outside the setting. In 1956 suburbia, for example, it would be of great amusement to know that there was a real Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, and that they really did worship the egg as a covert symbol of their proper-yet-jolly lesbianism.
Still, whether by context or title, the new production of 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche plays out like the punchline of joke you knew would be funny, and turned out even funnier.
The post-war club of “widows and sisters” (audience members included among them, thanks to nametags issued at the door) are facing a nuclear meltdown—literally. Fortunately, their annual quiche breakfast is held inside a bunker that happens to be filled with quiche, so all is well when the radioactive sirens blare halfway through this hour-long comedy. It’s once the sirens cease and the club’s five officers ’fess up to their tawdry, irresistible urges that the melodrama cranks up, along with the coquetry.
This smart comedy returns to New York compliments of SoHo Playhouse, which is now staging the play every second weekend of the month on an open-ended run. Written by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood and directed by Sarah Gitenstein, “5 Lesbians” began its successful production at Chicago’s queer-friendly New Colony, before a four-city U.S. tour landed it at the 2012 New York City Fringe Festival to rave reviews.
Now in its off-Broadway iteration, the production has gelled into a tight, quick-paced original story with jokes sometimes flying between the ensemble sometimes faster than you can even process them. Its gorgeously retro cadre of actors perfectly embody mid-century independent women with an alluring balance of perfect posture and attire, and scorchingly modern wit.
Though it knocks on the door of silliness, “5 Lesbians” thankfully never crosses the threshold. Rather, just when moments of predictability start to flare up, the next zinger drops, reminding us that much revelry and humor can come from the flirtatious ladies who lunch.
“5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” is performed monthly every second Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m., and every second Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., at SoHo Playhouse, (866) 811-4111, sohoplayhouse.com. For more details visit 5lesbianseatingaquiche.com.