‘Boeing Boeing’ is a farce by French writer Marc Camoletti which was adapted by Beverley Cross and first performed in the UK at The Apollo Theatre, London in 1962.
It was listed in 1991 as the most performed French play throughout the world in the Guinness Book of Records and having watched it tonight it is obvious why. There is something quite impressive about a good farce which charges through at a great pace with more and more complicated scenarios as the storyline progresses and ‘Boeing, Boeing’ certainly delivers this.
Playing the Lothario with 3 fiancés – Bernard is David Slater. David has vast experience and is able to deliver the calm and controlled Bernard until his world starts to crumble as all three air stewardesses are at his apartment together due to changes in their flight schedules.
By contrast Barry Hester, as his old Oxford chum Robert is full of boundless energy charging around the stage and has a 1000 facial expressions to boot. Barry has expert comedic timing and gives a great interpretation of a ‘fish out of water’ in Bernard’s crazy lifestyle. Barry is a joy to watch, even when things don’t go entirely to plan – a few lost lines and a faulty door handle but nothing fazes Barry when he is in full flight.
Bernard’s other partner in crime is Bertha his housekeeper/maid played by Diana Easton. Diana was perfect as the moaning maid and she delivered a very dry and dour character with great ease. She has some terrific one-liners and gives us a lot of the laughs in the show.
It is the constant photograph changing, the musical bedrooms and doors and the knowledge from the audience that they are sure they know what disaster will come next which make this a true comedic romp.
The three air stewardesses were all well cast. Christie Hooper as Gloria the TWA girl had all the brashness and character required in this role and certainly fitted the idea of a 1960’s air stewardess to a tee.
Next came Karen Kelleher as Gabriella, Miss Air Italia with an impressive accent and some real Mediterranean attitude but it was Alison Hartley as Gretchen, Miss Luthhansa whole almost stole the show with her larger than life stereotypical German aggression and was very funny, and just a little bit frightening! Her control over Robert made it all the better.
Once again, The Reject Theatre Company delivered a strong production, which I always enjoy as there are always new faces in each cast which makes it all the more interesting to watch.
There were so many laughs in this, and it delivered as a true farce should with some ridiculous scenarios and as with all farce the humour relies on precision entrances and exits and the three stewardesses narrowly miss each other as they enter and depart the apartment – in this respect this production by the Reject Theatre Company was a triumph. Huge congratulations to all.