The play is set in the 1960s. It centers around a American bachelor by the name of Bernard who has a spacious flat in Paris outfitted with more emergency exits than a 737. For some time now, he has been having his cake and eating it too all with a little coffee, tea, or me times three. He is engaged to three attractive air hostesses who are totally clueless to his nefarious arrangements. With the assistance of his housekeeper, Berthe, it has been smooth flying so far. Everything has been taking off and landing as scheduled. Then, Bernard's flight pattern enters some unexpected major turbulence when his friend Robert comes to stay, and a new, speedier Boeing jet disrupts his careful planning. With all three air hostesses having landed on his doorstep on the same day, Bernard's web of deception begins to unravel with a not so innocent Robert stepping in as a beneficiary. What happens next? The fasten your seatbelt light has been turned on, so take your seat, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.
Chrissy Eliason, a director who has a penchant for detail and an uncanny skill for matching real life personalities to their characters, added another winner to her list of triumphs. Boeing Boeing is a play whose success is based on the premise that timing is everything. Set designer Ernie Eliason provided Chrissy and crew with a beautifully drafted, functional set. Accented by 1960s style abstracts painted by his own hand and equipped with seven different doors spread across a curved stage furnished with a long bar outfitted with a ingeniously constructed motorized pop-up map, Chrissy masterfully directed the concerto of timely swinging doors from the numerous entrances and exits like an experienced air traffic controller with no noticeable blips. As for the cast, she had them fueled up and they were firing on all turbines.
With a devilish smile, black book in hand, and aided by a well planned pop-up map any respectable self made cad would envy, self assured Bernard (played by boyishly handsome Jonathan Quarles) was feeling pretty good about his arrangement as he explained it to a newly arrived and dumbfounded Robert. And then, the inescapable happens, his arrangements begin to spin out of control. Apprehensive Robert, now enlisted as his co-pilot, steps in to help steady the plane, but this is where the comedy begins and its fun to watch Robert go from being apprehensive to conspiring, the type of character that seems to suit Rusty Cooler just fine having just come off a spectacular showing as Beadle Banford in Sweeney Todd.
To say the least, the relationship between Berthe and Bernard is antagonistic. After all, trying to uphold her employer's demanding lifestyle and keep three young ladies of the airways with varying tastes happy is a tall order, and thespian Heather Jane Hogan as the French firecracker of a housekeeper uproariously juggles her duties and feelings with skillful simplicity.
Having engaged in conversations with all three leading ladies, I can rightly say they are perfectly matched to their characters. All three are as different as their hair color. Christiana Blun, a no-nonsense, straightforward individual, plays Gloria--a tall and leggy TWA dressed-in-red American who has a surprise of her own. Joy Springfield, a carefree and fun-loving sort, portrays Gretchen--the flirtatious German redhead of Lufthansa outfitted in yellow. Alex Shanko, a bubbly, sassy spirit, is cast as Gabriella--the voluptuous Italian dressed in the green of Alitalia. Newcomers Christiana and Joy, along with veteran Alex, were entertaining to watch as they seduced, flirted, and charmed their way from being the manipulated to being the manipulators after all was said and done.
The diverse cast handled their varying lingual accents and crucial cues well. The brightly colored 60s style costumes (costume designer Nicole Harrison) blended with the multi-colored set nicely. The props were era appropriate down to the smallest details. The lighting was complimentary and pleasant.
Yes, it is a play about a selfish cad who wants to have his cake and eat it too served with a little coffee, tea or me times three, but you can revel in the idea he reaps what he has sown and at the same time, smile at the irony of it all. The Flowertown Players presentation of Boeing Boeing accomplishes what the play's writer Marc Camoletti intended, to make you roll in your seat laughing.
Showing May 25, 26, 31, June 1, 2 at 8pm May 27 and June 3 at 3pm
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