When you see a play called “5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche” you expect to see just that. New Colony’s show delivers on that front, which is one point in its favor.
The play takes the form of the 1956 annual quiche breakfast meeting of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, a social club of “widows” that is slowly revealed to be a covert organization of lesbians. Written collaboratively by Andrew Hopgood, Evan Linder, and its very funny cast, the play takes a dark turn when atom bombs fall outside their door, and their meeting hall must now double as a fallout shelter.
The best thing about this show is its extremely funny ensemble cast. Mary Hollis Inboden steals the show as the bossy, mildly unhinged president of the organization. Inboden has emerged in recent years as one of Chicago’s finest comic actresses. She can set the audience roaring with the slightest facial tic. There’s no question this show is funny, with big belly laughs every few seconds.
And yet there’s a strange emptiness to the proceedings. I can’t help but think there’s a thoughtful comedy about repressed homosexuality in 1950’s America and Cold War paranoia somewhere in this material that the creators simply weren’t interested in finding. Simply put, the show has nothing to do with real life, and that makes it less funny. It’s going for absurdity instead. There’s nothing wrong with that, absurdity is the birth of a lot of great comedy. But “Lesbians” lacks the satirical bite it seems to think it has.
Still, major points must be awarded for the show’s funny actresses and also for some special effects that impress despite a very un-theatrical venue.