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Laughter and surprises

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche has both

From left: Dana Winter, Heather Christopher, Meghan Goodman, Samantha Chandler and Katelyn Hoffman. Photo courtesy Theater Artists Olympia

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Theater Artists Olympia's 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche might be one of the most difficult reviews I've ever written, because I don't want to give anything away, and this insanely funny romp is so full of surprises that I can hardly say anything without divulging something you should not know before going to see it.

What I can say without spoiling anything is that it is an all-female cast directed by Hannah Eklund, and that it takes place in 1956 in a strange room designed by Michael Christopher and Mariah Smith that is a combination community center and fallout shelter.

But it's more than empty laughter. Eklund explains: "Sometimes, when it feels like the worst thing in the world has happened, it opens a door to your authentic self. Maybe it's because you feel like you have nothing to lose. Maybe it's because you're forced to be your own best advocate. Maybe it's because, in spite of feeling like your world has ended, you're still standing."

The five characters are Wren Robin (Heather Christopher), Dale Prist (Katelyn Hoffman), Vern Schultz (Samantha Chandler), Ginny Cadbury (Dana Winter) and Lulie Stanwyck (Meghan Goodman). They are the officers of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, and it is the day of their annual quiche breakfast.

These women love quiche. They love quiche more than anyone in the history of the world has ever loved quiche. And they worship the egg because the egg is the main ingredient in quiche, and they worship chickens because chickens lay eggs. And everything said or done in reference to quiche, eggs, or chickens is most likely a sexual double or triple entendre.

There's one other thing that I would not divulge if it was not in their promotional material, and that is that there is a nuclear disaster.

That's it. That's all I'm going to put out there plot-wise. Oh, and there is some audience participation.

The cast is outstanding. Most of them vamp to high heaven. There's a camera in the room, and they keep posing for the camera, especially Christopher as Wren and Goodman as Lulie, both of whom come across to the audience as sorority sisters pretending to be Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell; and Hoffman, who plays Dale as innocently flirtatious and something of an airhead. Winter's Ginny doesn't carry on as outrageously as her sorority sisters. She is from Manchester, England, and is quiet and shy until she bursts out in a most hilarious way, which I don't dare give away. Chandler's Vern is more self-contained and not as flighty as the others. Her humor is subtler, but she also bursts out wildly in a most unexpected manner.

The script by Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder is hilarious and inventive, and it provides for a lot of improvisation. And this quintet of highly professional actors flow with scripted and unscripted dialogue and action seamlessly.

I warned earlier that there is audience participation. I know that scares some people or at the least makes them uncomfortable. But the way they do it is in no way intimidating. The mythical fourth wall vanishes the moment you walk into the theater, and the characters kindly welcome you into the society - no pressure whatsoever. Unless your name is . . . well no, I can't give that away either.

I recommend that you purchase tickets online and do it early. Opening night was almost sold out, and the buzz around this show is such that tickets might be hard to come by if you don't hurry.

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m., Sunday, through July 1, The Midnight Sun, 113 N. Columbia St., tickets: $12-$15, available at door night of show or online at olytheater.com

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