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Friday, June 21, 2013

Pandora’s “5 Lesbians” Is Fast, Funny & Wholly Outrageous




5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche

By Evan Linder & Andrew Hobgood
Directed by Lucas Adams

Reviewed by Keith Waits

Entire contents are copyright © 2013, Keith Waits.  All rights reserved.

Double entendre hatersd beware! This fast, funny and wholly outrageous comedy is so overstuffed with such jokes that for a good while you can’t take a single line at face value. In 1956 a group of women, widows who are members of “The Susan B. Anthony of Sisters of Gertrude Stein,” have met for their annual quiche breakfast in what turns about to be nothing less than a bomb shelter. As the five officers – Lulie (Jennifer Pennington), Dale (Lauren McCombs), Wren (Katie Nuss), Vern (Lauren Argo) and Ginny (Laura Ellis) – make their introductions, we learn of the quirky fascination with eating quiche and the veneration of the egg that defines the group. If you cannot understand what is really going on here, well…you most likely would not find yourself attending a Pandora show in the first place.

The rapid pace sweeps the one-act past so that it is almost over too soon, yet it also seems to land at just the right length. This material is so heightened in its tone and played in appropriately broad measures; but it is also highly economical in how it accomplishes its goals. There is very little redundancy, and it credits the audience with being able to keep up. It makes an interesting companion to The Temperamentals, a play featured in a previous Pandora season.  Although it is as facetious as that play was earnest, it shares a period setting and similar concerns about the difficulty of life as a gay American during the Eisenhower years and beyond. But where The Temperamentals explored real historical events, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche is purely fantastical and over-the-top funny.

The five-member cast takes no prisoners in its ferocious approach. Lauren McCombs is the highlight as Dale; and this actress, known for her high-energy comic performances, is right on target here. Lauren Argo reveals the dominatrix within Vern with a laser focus and intensity. Laura Ellis waits to steal the spotlight as Ginny, but when her moment comes, she seizes it with a perfectly played piece of physical comedy that is THE big payoff of the mounting tide of double entendre. Jennifer Pennington and Katie Nuss play characters who seem slightly more grounded in reality, with some welcome subtlety to balance the high jinks. When the play momentarily turns to pathos, it is carefully judged in the writing and beautifully rendered in the playing. Director Lucas Adams pitches the production in unapologetically broad fashion. Yet it is not entirely without nuance, and it feels right.

Karl Anderson provides a period-appropriate set that avoids kitsch, and the costumes by Donna Lawrence-Downs walk the same line with style. There is no credit for hairstyles, so we must assume that the cast are primarily responsible for the effectively expressive period hairdos.

Audience members are asked to don name tags featuring a variety of women’s names so that they are engaged beyond the obvious laugh-filled script, and this is easily one of the most accessible Pandora shows of late and one not likely to disappoint. A bright and breezy way to end their season.

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche

June 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, & 29 at 7:30 p.m.
June 23 & 30 at 5:30 p.m. & June 29 at 2 p.m.

Pandora Productions
at the Henry Clay Theatre
604 S. Third St.
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 216-5502

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