REVIEW: Magnolia Theatre’s ‘Five Lesbians Eating A Quiche’

The ensemble deftly handles the material with comedic physicality and timing. You just have to laugh with the raw energy of this Fringe-y production.

By Liz Eichler

Magnolia Theatre’s production of Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche, is a fluffy meringue of entertainment and a great giggle with friends. Clearly a piece written by and for seasoned improv performers, authors Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder pack the script with double entendre and puns about eggs. The ensemble deftly handles the material with comedic physicality and timing. You just have to laugh with the raw energy of this Fringe-y production. Running April 4-7 at the PNC Arts Annex in downtown Dayton, Magnolia Theatre is the newest member of the League of Cincinnati Theatres.

The Premise 

Set in 1956, the play transports us to the annual quiche breakfast of The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein. As the quirky characters–aka “widows”–eagerly await the announcement of the prize-winning quiche, chaos ensues when atomic bomb sirens sound, throwing their idyllic town and lifestyle into uncertainty. 

You are Welcomed as Part of The Society

Upon arrival, guests/audience choose prewritten name tags, instantly immersing viewers into the whimsical world of the play. (Mine read “Petunia”–who we later learn had the audacity to bring a quiche with…meat. The first rule of the Society is eggs and sausage never go together.) You learn the backstory of others as well. The audience is welcomed by the cast who ad libs in character, setting a lively and engaging tone for the evening. Everyone in the audience plays along which adds to the fun.

Ensemble Cast

The newly hatched Magnolia Theatre Company’s commitment to female-focused storytelling shines in this production. The ensemble cast includes many new faces (to me and Dayton).

Vera Allen (with Columbus and New York credits) is Vern, Buildings and Grounds chairman and the hard-boiled widow who can fix anything, barreling through life with confidence and gusto.  Emma Massey is a sweet Ginny, the newest widow who puts up with being overlooked by others. Cydnie Hampton is the statuesque president Lulie Stanwyck. Her buttoned-up character eventually cracks. 

Skye Hodgkin is delightfully sunny and fresh as Wren. Sarah Gomes is the club Historian, Dale. She is quite endearing as she reveals her broken childhood, yet she is also hysterically funny.  Gomes has impeccable timing.

Their chemistry is palpable. They effortlessly fold in ad libs and mix with the audience throughout, making us feel like we’re truly one of the widows of the Society, dedicated to celebrating the egg. 

Cast of “Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche” at Magnolia Theatre during curtain call.

Production Team

The production values are surprisingly strong for this growing theatre. The bright set and 1950’s kitchen table (Gary Minyard, scenic and sound design) dominate the blackbox space. Appropriate lighting (Ara Beal) allows us to see the characters and feel the chaos of the air raid.  Well-tailored costumes capture the essence of the 1950s era.  The set and costumes are period colors, punctuated by the “Fall Out Shelter” sign which many in the audience recall.  While minor issues like visible slip hems occur, they hardly detract from the overall enjoyment of the show.

Director Gina Handy Minyard does a great job keeping it light, fluffy, and letting the comedy fully expand. It is a jolt to see the 1950’s rigid social rules which force these women into the role of “widows” but the tone is light and fast. We move quickly from sexual repression to the fear of atomic bombs, and back again.


Whether you’re a theater enthusiast or simply looking for a fun night out, this production will leave you smiling from ear to ear. 

You better scramble to make the last few showings! Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche runs April 4-7 at the PNC Arts Annex in downtown Dayton. Get tickets at The show is only 70 minutes without an intermission.

LCT welcomes Magnolia Theatre Company as a new member. We can’t wait see what hatches next!

A new Calendar for everything onstage from LCT’s member theatres.

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