Arts & Theater

B Street production leaves audience hungry for substance

The B Street Theatre Mainstage production of “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” stars (clockwise from right), Tara Sissom, Amy Kelly, Amy Resnick, Elisabeth Nunziato and Stephanie Altholz.
The B Street Theatre Mainstage production of “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” stars (clockwise from right), Tara Sissom, Amy Kelly, Amy Resnick, Elisabeth Nunziato and Stephanie Altholz. B Street Theatre staff

“5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” would be considered a frivolous ironic hors d’oeuvre if you were at a throwback ’50s-themed dinner party – a Ritz cracker dabbed with Cheez whiz and a stuffed olive for decoration. You chuckle at it for a moment and look for a fig-wrapped in prosciutto or celery to dip in the hummus, something you can actually eat.

The new production at B Street offers up more than a few chuckles as there are some full-throated laughs to be had, but at 75 minutes, the skit-depth idea plays out before the first hour passes. The time is spent pleasantly enough though in the company of an expert veteran B Street cast, which isn’t at all tested by the uninspired script.

The most extraordinary aspect of “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” rests with how slight it feels considering how many cooks were in the kitchen. Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood are credited as playwrights with collaborative contributions by Sarah Gitenstein, Mary Hollis Inboden, Megan Johns, Thea Lux, Beth Stelling and Maari Suorsa. The show was created through directed, improvised efforts of the credited writers.

The track record in both scripted and improvised situations of B Street stalwarts Elisabeth Nunziato, Stephanie Altholz, Amy Resnick, Amy Kelly and Tara Sissom strongly suggests they would have come up with a significantly more dynamic show on their own had they been turned loose creatively.

Set in 1956, the production feels more like a pageant than a play though there are several noteworthy comic moments. The actors are the officers of Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein and the comic code here is that these are all closeted gay women.

The production is mildly interactive with audience members receiving name tags as they enter the theater as if they were there for the quiche-judging ceremony. There’s a whole lot left on the table about what being a gay woman in 1956 could entail, but a quiche does get devoured onstage, and it is something to see.

Paulette Sand-Gilbert designed the expressive period costuming. Buck Busfield directs with a light touch, giving his performers a wide berth, though one wishes they would have had more.

Marcus Crowder: 916-321-1120, @marcuscrowder

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5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche

What: In this farce it’s 1956, and the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein is having its annual quiche breakfast. The cast features B Street regulars Elisabeth Nunziato, Stephanie Altholz, Amy Resnick, Amy Kelly and Tara Sissom.

When: Through Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m Wednesdays and Sundays

Where: B Street Theatre Mainstage, 2711 B St., Sacramento

Cost: $15-$35, $5 student rush

Information: 916-443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org

Time: 75 minutes with no intermission

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