If the phrase devised work inspires fear, confusion or eye-rolling, check your preconceptions at the door. Expanded after an award-winning run last year in Collaboraction’s Sketchbook X, this ensemble piece is smart, sharp and hysterically funny.
The “widows” comprising the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein have gathered for their annual quiche breakfast, 1956 edition. And these women really, really love quiche, as long as it’s meatless; the Society’s motto, “No men, no meat, all manners,” is no joke. A lighthearted morning quickly devolves into an emergency as the group’s nightmare comes true: An A-bomb hits, the meeting hall becomes a fallout shelter, and all but one of the quiches is locked on the other side of a self-sealing door. When the ladies devour the last quiche, latent feelings rise to the surface as one, ahem, finishes it off with intensity.
What might be just a silly scenario peppered with cheap lesbian jokes is instead a winning mix of strong characters, precise comic timing and well-placed tastelessness. As Society President Lulie Stanwyck, Mary Hollis Inboden offers fantastic passive aggression, delightfully offset by Megan Johns’s excitable energy as Wren Robin. Beth Stelling (handy-with-tools Vern Schultz) perfectly deadpans some choice asides, and makes a great pair with adorably terrified champion quiche-eater Ginny Cadbury (Thea Lux). Maari Suorsa rounds out the cast as Dale Prist, shining when she recounts her twisted past. Gitenstein, Hobgood, Linder and the hilarious ensemble have cooked up something truly, wonderfully ridiculous.