The team at Brisbane Powerhouse were very busy working through their first ever MELT: A Celebration of Queer Arts and Culture. The festival showcased a variety of delights including music, cabaret, comedy, circus, visual arts and community panels, while also incorporating the long-running Brisbane Queer Film Festival into the mix.
And into this mix came a rather quaint and quirky performance. Really, there’s no way to anticipate what’s going to happen in a play that’s titled 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche. Written by playwrights Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder, the play is set in 1956 with the Cold War is at its peak. However, the overhanging threat of nuclear annihilation does little to dampen the spirits of the widows of the Susan B Anthony Society For The Sisters Of Gertrude Stein who have been brought together by the power of friendship, sisterhood, and above all, quiche.
Led by an all-female cast, the play stars enthusiastic Events Chairwoman Wren Robin (Samantha Turk); the delightfully fierce Society Historian Dale Prist (Ellen Bailey); Veronica “Vern” Schultz (Lauren Jackson), the buildings and grounds chairman and a seemingly refined lady; the anxious and eager-to-please Ginny Cadbury (Meghan Clarke) – partaking in more than one of the play’s climaxes – and, the formidable President Lulie Stanwyck (Catherine Alcorn), who adores quiche and abhors nonsense.
Together, the women lead the audience – otherwise known as their “fellow sisters” – through the evening’s itinerary. With the scandal of sister Marjorie failing to submit a quiche last year, the sisters are quick to bore into the lucky audience member wearing her name tag with savage wit and hilarious quips. Scandals aside, there are only three rules that must be followed for the duration of the meeting:
This play is both exhilarating and hilarious as the actors throw the room into a state of controlled chaos. The fact that the audience is encouraged and embraced as part of the production makes the experience extra intimate, dissolving any awkward tension between theatre patrons as they laugh together at the shenanigans on stage.
The actors show that they are masters of their craft in this play, captivating the audience with beautifully accented dialogue, polished outfits, and adjusting to any situation the audience may throw at them with improvisation and humour. 5 Lesbians is an amazing play which has done a spectacular job opening Brisbane Powerhouse’s first MELT; daring to be different and showing that in the face of impending doom for all humanity, the power of friendship is enough to sustain all: that, and a prize-winning quiche.
From the archives: This is from our original site, MyCityLife, posted back on 20 February 2015