For one night and one night only, LGBT in collaboration with Mermaids president Joanna Bowman, presented the ridiculously named and ridiculously scripted Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche. This is a play in which the fourth wall comes crashing down, allowing for audience interaction. Indeed, the audience are part of the play as the 1956 Annual Quiche Breakfast of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein commences. The story follows the committee of the society and their fellow “widows” as they begin their eagerly anticipated quiche breakfast, which turns into a nuclear emergency as an atomic bomb is dropped. Luckily, the widows are in the safest place in America and all survive the explosion. Knowing they will have to be together for four years until it is safe to emerge into the outside world, revelations quickly spring up with many of the widows revealing that they are in fact, lesbians.
While amusing in places, the play ends tragically with the death of one of the committee and a haunting encore of the society’s song, composed by Fiona Yelland. Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche certainly hits home the themes of friendship and camaraderie; however, it seems an odd choice for LGBT as the play does little to highlight social conceptions of lesbianism in the 1950s.
Nevertheless, the actresses, drawn from some of St Andrews finest acting talent, played their roles superbly, each attaching special consideration to characterisation. Annabel Ekelund gave a stellar performance as Lulie, the president who announces her unexpected pregnancy near the end of the play while growing progressively more distressed. Becca Schwartz playing the fun, yet sensible Wren, provided a double-act with Kit Klaes as Vern, providing some of the subtlest yet nuanced lines. As Dale, Hannah Rodgers gave great gusto to her role, embodying the slightly rebellious yet tragic figure who had not spoken to a man after the imprisonment of her father at the age of three. Of special note, was Katie Hill taking a step away from her usual genres of music and dance to play the timid Ginny. Her naïve view of her first quiche breakfast provided the audience with a character to latch on to as they too experienced this phenomenon.
Under the direction of Jo Bowman and her assistant director Sam Oshins, Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche came together superbly well. The location of the large rehearsal room was decked out with bunting and a banner and while the props were generally very good, the room felt a little too modern which sadly detracted from the genre. However, the costumes were authentically in 1950s style with a wide range of colours and varying cuts. The makeup and hair were also accurate with Annabel Ekelund’s giant front curl being reminiscent of a Marilyn Munroe type style.
The production felt very inclusive and welcoming to all, despite the relative coldness of the room. It is a shame that the play only ran for one night, as more people would have enjoyed a further performance. Despite this, Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche has set a very high standard for small plays in non-traditional locations around town. The Saint looks forward to seeing whatever this production team creates next!