REVIEW: 5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE. Written by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood. Directed by Robert Shenton with Regina R. Malan, Candice Burgess, Imke du Toit, Jessica Stanley and Lee van der Merwe. Galloway Theatre and Theatre Arts Admin Collective.

KAREN RUTTER reviews

When you live on a continent where just this month two gay men were found guilty of “performing unnatural acts” and face a possible jail sentence of 14 years (they were spotted canoodling in their hotel room and reported by an employee), then you gotta feel great that we have our very own LGBTQ theatre company in Cape Town.

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche. Picture: Yasmin Hankel

Mish Mash Media Productions is a relatively new addition to the scene but has already clocked up an impressive all-women version of Othello (which will be on again at the Baxter in September 2018) and is currently presenting 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche. The company is all about representation and visibility, and places an emphasis on strong stage roles for women.

As I say – you gotta feel great. Especially if you are a lesbian and not used to seeing people like you in a play.

But that doesn’t mean you’ve also got to be uncritically grateful. Because that would be sad, and imply that lesbians should be happy to have just anything tossed their way. So it’s in the interests of rejoicing in the fact that Mish Mash exists, but also respecting the rigour of the theatre tradition, that this review is written.

Funny, quirky, offbeat

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche is funny, and quirky, and has a few delightfully offbeat moments. It’s written by two American playwrights and has become something of an off-Broadway cult hit. Set in the 1950s when America was obsessed with the Commies and Cold War, it pitches a potential fantasy about what could happen if The Bomb went off while a group of women – the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein – were holding a meeting in a community hall.

The Sisters – Regina R. Malan, Candice Burgess, Imke du Toit, Jessica Stanley and Lee van der Merwe – are a lively lot with lacquered hair and a love for quiches. The latter being a very, very obvious euphemism for rug munching. Muff diving. Sipping from the furry cup. When they finally use the L word, it is hugely cathartic (both for themselves and the audience).

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche. Regina R. Malan. Picture: Yasmin Hankel

Trapped by The Bomb

It’s all fun and games, with a sub-serious sub-theme about Being Yourself. Each woman has a distinctive character, and the situation they find themselves in – trapped by The Bomb – brings out different aspects of their personalities.

But to be honest, the script is all over the place. One minute it’s all nudge-nudge-wink-wink-bring-out-yer-eggs and the next there’s a soulful soliloquy about a drowning sister. The pitch ranges from farce to frenzy. There’s an uneven tilt to the narrative and the dynamics that sits uneasily.

This is not the fault of the cast or director, at all. But they do all seem to have become trapped in the mania of the manuscript, sucked into the hysteria of the text, and while there are some truly amusing moments, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche often just feels a tad exhausting.

But. I am truly glad it is being staged. I am truly glad there is a comedy about lesbians being presented in Cape Town. And you know what – I am particularly glad that young people, young gay people, can see themselves and watch this without being arrested. And perhaps that’s one of the biggest reasons to support this production, and this company.

What: 5 Lesbians eating a Quiche

Where, when and tickets:

The Galloway Theatre
15 to 19 August 2018
Tickets: www.waterfronttheatreschool.com,
or call Sharon 082 772 8867
Theatre Arts Admin Collective
21 August to 2 September 2018
Tickets: http://theatreartsadmincollective.weebly.com/book-tickets.html

WS