BOEING-BOEING by Marc Camoletti

Dates and Venue 24 January - 24 February 2013, Tues at 7:30 pm, Wed – Sat 8 pm, (matinees Wed , Sat & Sun at 2pm) | Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

Director David Mackay Set Design Amir Ofek Costume Design Nancy Bryant Lighting Design Gerald King Sound Design Murray Price Stage Manager Caryn Fehr

Reviewer John Jane

A single glance at Ahir Ofek’s aesthetically detailed set of a Paris apartment, that looks like it emerged from the pages of an architectural magazine, told you that you were going to be in for a lot of physical comedy. Ofek’s bi-level set boasts no fewer than six doors and one open entrance across the stage.

Boeing-Boeing is Marc Camoletti’s bedroom farce that first hit the boards in a Parisien theatre more than fifty years ago. Since then, there have likely been more English adaptations than French.

Bernard, an Architect living in Paris, somehow manages to juggle relationships with Gloria, Gabriella and Gretchen. His ignoble cause is helped by the fact that all three girlfriends are airline stewardesses with different international airlines that rarely allow for simultaneous layovers. Gloria (Kimberley Sustad) is an American working with TWA, Gabriella (Moya O’Connell) is Italian who flies with Alitalia und (oops!) and Fräulein Gretchen (Colleen Wheeler) who proudly takes to the skies with Lufthansa.

When Bernard’s system predictably begins to collapse around him, it’s his overworked housemaid, Berthe (Nicola Lipman), who steals just about every scene she is in with her droll delivery and his friend Robert (Andrew McNee) visiting from Wisconsin who have to rescue the pathetic player. Robert, who accepts an invitation to stay at Bernard’s apartment, finds himself getting involved far beyond his expectations. Nevertheless, he finds some benefits in the course of covering his friend’s tracks.

Despite still having ample charm, Boeing-Boeing is decidedly dated in many respects. It hearkens back to a simpler, perhaps a more innocent time when airline stewardesses were not called flight attendants, looked like fashion models and were even courteous to patrons.

This obeisance to a past time is not reflected in the performance of the three actors who play Bernard’s “fiancés.” While looking ravishing in Nancy Bryant’s smart, form-fitting uniforms, these gals give as good as they get. Kimberley Sustad is savvy and in control as Gloria, Moya O’Connell is fiercely flamboyant as the fiery Italian Gabriella and Colleen Wheeler is outrageously over the top as the headstrong Gretchen.

Director David Mackay with the help of stage management team Caryn Fehr and Ronaye Haynes keep the show moving with the precision of a Swiss watch. Mackay allows his actors to perform with generous margin without letting the physical comedy deteriorate into slapstick.

If you enjoy a good romp and aren’t looking for a profound message or moral direction, then this is certainly a show for you.

© 2013 John Jane