By Georgie Proctor
For one night only, Durham Student Theatre were delighted to welcome back 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, but this time at the new community centre location of the Gala Theatre. As I missed the first run of show at the Assembly Rooms Theatre, I was equally delighted to hear about the return of the quiche, and to have another chance to attend the annual quiche breakfast. With credit to all five cast members, as well as both original and new directors Lucy Knight and Damson Young, the performance delivers all the splendid ridiculousness I was expecting and more.
Concerns had been voiced about the suitability of a play with only five characters to the spatial demands of the Gala Theatre. Yet both staging and blocking, combined with the exaggerated comic physicality of each lesbian, easily overcomes this. The intimacy of the imagined meeting room is established immediately upon entering the theatre where, under the cheery but always slightly terrifying premises of audience interaction, theatregoers are ushered in individually by members of the quiche breakfast. For myself, it was established by a cast member that both of my cats must have been named after famous quiche makers. This intimacy between actor and audience is retained throughout; the troupe often touch upon the tropes of pantomime but do not overplay this. All the cast show command of the space and the line of comedy moves with consistently strong projection, confidence, and polish that ensures no joke falls flat. I particularly enjoyed the repeated ensemble moments to ‘Marjorie’, shunned sister and audience member, which is just one of many good examples in the play of the cast’s collective talent for comic timing.
The refreshing simplicity of the play’s intent – it truly does what it says on the tin – heightens its farce and gives five talented comic actors the creative space to embellish their characters with effective quirks and idiosyncrasies. Particular credit must go to Rosie Minnitt’s Wren as she prepares herself for the first bite of quiche, as well as to Ella Blaxill’s Ginny; her phases of repressed passion are nuanced and hilariously convincing. In reaction to the advances of Vern, played by Lily Edwards, Blaxill is brilliant to watch.
To reiterate the opinions of a reviewer for Five Lesbians’ original run, the only true shame is that the meeting and worship of the egg is over so soon and that, sadly, the play could only be on for a single night at the Gala. Even the infamous difficulties that seem to characterise the Gala Theatre’s tech do not faze the cast. Technical issues are handled with easy and undisruptive humour. I can predict with confidence that the 303 sisters of the audience, discounting, of course, the two members that were sassed in a masterful piece of ad-lib by Jazzy Price’s Lulie upon leaving early, would be delighted to see a sequel; perhaps the story of four years’ time after the birth of meat?
Photography: 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche Production Team