The title promises a feast: “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche.” There are indeed five funny sapphists, a quantity of quiches and all the winking campy craziness you can devour in a one-act production.
It’s little wonder that the play, cowritten by former Memphian Evan Linder, won an award in 2012 for best overall production at the New York International Fringe Festival. It’s completely fringey, which means hearty helpings of in-jokes, over-the-top moments and wicked satire all drenched in absurdity.
Playhouse on the Square’s POTS@TheWorks production, helmed by first-time director Liz Sharpe, is an agreeably raucous affair. The story focuses on the 1956 meeting of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, during which they have their annual quiche-off competition.
I have been known to groove on a tasty quiche — but quiche to these single women (a.k.a. “widows”) is far more than a savory recipe. The pie — along with the eggs necessary to create it — is an object of reverence, even obsession.
The ladies’ celebration is interrupted by an apparent nuclear attack (I told you it was absurd). But why not: It is the middle of the Cold War after all, and civilizations around the globe were worrying about the bomb. The sudden digression changes the tone of the meeting, although not of the play’s attitude — it gets zanier as it gets darker.
For all the fun, which includes audience involvement, euphemisms galore and confessions aplenty, the hilarity proceeds at not quite a breakneck pace. Undoubtedly adventurous, it was also uneven as some one-liners sagged and the pacing lacked the snap it might have had.
That said, the talent was thoroughly entertaining. All were a blend of types, and let us now note Meghan Lisi’s terrific comic gifts and Ann Marie Hall’s well-honed deadpan. Erin Shelton’s storytelling is priceless, while Jeanna Juleson nails the proper Lulie. And Gail Black, welcome back to the stage — that laugh is a hoot.
“5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche”
Friday through July 28 at TheatreWorks, 2085 Monroe. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets: $30 Thursdays and Sundays, $35 Fridays and Saturdays. $22 Seniors/Students/Military. More information: 901-726-4656 and playhouseonthesquare.org.