The promises of the title certainly deliverEmma B-P

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche is a totally ridiculous, joyously silly romp which left the audience cackling and clapping with a heady mix of bewilderment and delight over absurd characters, raunchy humour and positively bizarre circumstances. The action focuses on a single room in which the Susan B. Antony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein meet to have their annual quiche breakfast and are assaulted by atomic bombs, leaving them to deal with the prospect of being trapped together for four years until the radiation clears. Using audience participation (be warned) to draw the room in nearly instantaneously, the giggling hysterics lasted easily until the final twenty minutes of the play, in which, despite the actors’ impressive energy, the absurdity began to fall flat on an audience inundated with silliness.

The performance was not by any means faultless: as can be expected for an opening night, it was dotted with fumbled lines, mistaken names, and wobbling accents. However, it is a testament to the strength of the cast that not one actor notably stood out, with overwhelming energy and strong comic timing on all fronts, from the hilarious flirtations of Amy Malone’s Vern to the hysterics of Molly Stacey’s Wren and everyone in between. It is a shame, then, that some of their antics were lost to a slight struggle to work around the awkwardness of the Corpus Playroom’s space, though on the whole this was well managed and brought to good use in the audience participation. Similarly, it is clear that there was an attempt to use the lighting to enhance the actors’ comic strength and to highlight key moments in the play: as it happened, the contrast was neither drastic enough nor smooth enough to really pull this off consistently.

Perhaps these occasional flat notes were responsible for the fact that there were certainly some members of the audience who were not carried along by the absurdity of the comedy; or, more likely, it is simply that the style was not for everyone. It was difficult at moments to tell whether even the majority of the audience were laughing or it was simply that those who did were doing so with such a stream of giggles, guffawing and snorts that it filled the room. The actors, certainly, seemed like they were enjoying themselves, as can be seen from the fact the few moments of prop faults (a picture falling, a door refusing to close) were dealt with aplomb and good humour, becoming a part of the farce.

In a preview for Varsity, Co-Director Rhiannon Shaw promises “Lesbians! Egg-based food! An atomic bomb!” along with “top lolz”, all of which were certainly present, though fellow Co-Director Elinor Lipman’s assertion that the play carries “a lot of points about sexism and homophobia” is a little less assured. Certainly, some kind of overall message could be drawn from the play, but on experiencing it one is so drawn into the wildness that it is hard to pin a message down or emotionally connect to the characters: if this had been possible, the excitement may have carried on right to the end of the performance instead of falling slightly short of the finish line. However, the play definitely proves that, as Lipman says, women are “really fucking funny.”

Though the first half was far stronger than the second and the performance as a whole could have been tighter, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche was wildly joyous; the perfect antidote to any bad day or stressful deadline.

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