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BWW Reviews: 5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE is On the Menu

Cast (L-R): Adriana Dominguez, Autumn Clack,
Sammi Sicinski, Melanie Martin, Inge Kellermann

The year is 1956, but forget about the imminent threat of nuclear warfare. You're invited to the annual Quiche Breakfast of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein.

Yes, you are invited.

Once you step into Spring Street Studios for the Boiling Point Players' production of 5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE, you will be handed your name tag and directed to join your fellow ladysisters, assuming you agree one must never, ever put meat in a quiche.

As the "widows" of the Susan B. Anthony Society say, "No men. No meat. All manners."

But don't get me wrong, Daughters of Bilitis they are not. At least not in the beginning, and not without a little push - courtesy of the Cold War becoming hot.

Written by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood, the first iteration of 5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE was only 10 minutes long, which may be why now, though clocking in at little over an hour, it has the feel of sketch comedy, a cross between Saturday Night Live's Delicious Dish and Ambiguously Gay Duo. But it's a strength, not a weakness. The script is one-note (and if you can't see the play's one joke yet, I can't help you), but the short length and fast pace keep the double entendres from getting too old, too soon.

Though Linder and Hobgood have created a strong satire, it's not without its faults. Unnecessary stereotypes still appear, and one scene involving the line "You know you like it" misses the mark entirely, making for an uncomfortable and confusing moment salvaged only by the actors on stage.

Across the board, the cast turn in strong performances. Director Ruth S. McCleskey and the actors deserve credit for keeping the performances grounded within the absurdity, for keeping the characters from straying into the campiest of camp territory. It's no small feat; the characters are quirky, to say the least.

As Lulie Stanwyck, president of the Susan B. Anthony Society and keeper of a majorly unexpected secret, Sammi Sicinski is the perfect mix of poise and intimidation. When Sicinski is on stage, there's no doubt who runs the show.

Events Chairwoman Wren Robin, played by Melanie Martin, is Lulie's right-hand man (so to speak). Martin rules the roost admirably when Sicinski is off-stage, commanding the attention of her fellow officers and the audience alike.

Autumn Clack plays Buildings and Grounds Chairman Veronica "Vern" Schultz with swagger, rocking her smart pantsuit and impressing the ladies (especially Ginny) with her jack of all trades know-how.

And speaking of the Society's eager secretary from Manchester, Adriana Dominguez as Ginny Cadbury runs the gamut of melodrama, going from teary disbelief to over the top anger in seconds. Dominguez is also the centerpiece of the show's most outrageous scene, which she plays with hilarious gusto.

Cast (L-R): Melanie Martin, Adriana Dominguez,
Autumn Clack, and Inge Kellermann

Inge Kellermann as Dale Prist, the sweet historian with a tragic past, makes the most of the play's most dramatic (though out of place) moments, finding a way to cut through the wackiness of the story before coming back again with ease.

All display excellent comedic timing, and the show is at it's strongest when all five are on stage together. Despite the play's ridiculous point of departure, at its heart it's a story of friendship (and a little more) at the end of the world.

Though the set is sparse, hints of Armageddon and radiation are achieved by Stage Manager/Lighting Designer Amy Pope, Assistant Stage Manager Damon "DJ" Odgers and Ruth S. McCleskey as Sound Designer. The crew utilize lights, sound effects, and props to their fullest. Two framed photographs that bookend the show are standouts, and you'll be amazed by what a dash of red paint can accomplish.

The simple set also allows the costumes, mostly flower prints and pastels, by Costume Designer Katherine Rinaldi to shine.

Each night, 5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE is paired with special guest performances. Though I was concerned it would be jarring, I think the sketch-like nature of play lends itself to a certain variety show atmosphere so, in this instance, it works well. The night I attend, the audience is treated to a delightful mix of cabaret-style songs from Melanie Martin and improv comedy by Baby Knuckle and Ophelia's Rope.

Martin returns to the stage first and charms the crowd with her renditions of "Too Pretty" and later, "Accident Prone."

Improv troupe Baby Knuckle (featuring Ryan Bradley Heine, Adam Pecht, and Nate Suurmeyer) then take the stage and impress, showing just how funny a county commissioner with a lonely life can be and just how many directions you can go with an audience suggestion like "small hands."

For the finale, Baby Knuckle and Ophelia's Rope (Autumn Clack and Ruth S. McCleskey) join forces for one last round of improv, making comedic magic out of a suggestion of Quidditch. But it's Clack and McCleskey that steal the bit with their energy and physicality.

5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE, and a little more, will be on the menu through May 9, 2015. Shows begin at 8 p.m. at Studio 101, Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring St. Tickets are available here.

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From This Author Natalie de la Garza