|(L to R) Bhama Roget, Richard Nyguyen Sloniker, Angela|
DiMarco and Cheyenne Casebier in "Boeing Boeing."
Seattle Repertory Theatre finishes off their 50th year with the very silly play, “Boeing Boeing.” The slapstick silly comedy is a celebration of theatre as well as a tribute to the ‘60s. While many are thoroughly enjoying this production, it left me with mixed emotions. While the actors are wonderful and the set is incredible, the story itself is lacking. While definitely entertaining, “Boeing” is not as clever as it could be.
The story revolves around Bernard (Richard Nyguyen Sloniker – fresh off Village Theatre’s “The Mousetrap”), a bachelor living in Paris who juggles three girlfriends. Actually, they are all his fiancées that he has no intention of marrying. He explains his arrangement to Robert (Mark Bedard), a friend from the United States while on a visit. Bernard is courting three different women. All of them are stewardesses who all work for three different airlines:
Gloria (Bhama Roget) is the blond American with a big appetite for odd food combinations like pancakes and ketchup. She is also the most annoying of the bunch.
Gariella (Angela DiMarco) is the feisty and sexy Italian. (It is a far cry from her previous role as a lawyer in Azeotrope’s production of “Jesus Hopped the A Train.” It is fun to see the actress having a good time on stage.)
Gretchen (Cheyenne Casebier) is the German redhead who is passionate for just about anything. She is physically as strong as she is verbally.
Bernard is able to keep up the façade as the three ladies have different flight schedules and are never home at the same time. Except for now. With the help of Robert and his maid, Berthe (Anne Allgood), he manages to keep the rouse going…for a while.
“Boeing Boeing” was originally a French play by Marc Camoletti that was translated by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans. In 1991, the play was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most performed French play. It was also made into a movie in 1965 which starred Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis, which also gives you an idea of the type of humor the play has.
There are two reasons why you should see this play: Anne Allgood and the set itself. Allgood is a local favorite who has recently appeared in 5th Avenue’s “Oklahoma!” as Aunt Eller. She is much prettier in “real life” than she is playing the sourpuss role she plays here. She is given a lot of the best lines in the production and her comedic timing is spot on. She must love playing this role.
The set for “Boeing” is incredible as it could double as one of Disneyland’s earlier Tommorrowland attractions. Trap doors, music and lighting are all controlled by a single device (how the stage crew can stay on top of all the changes is amazing in itself).
Unfortunately, with all it has going for it, “Boeing” falls apart in the story department. The play tends to run in tangents and is riddled with plot holes. The play finally ends with a very unsatisfying ending. While the moral of the story is obvious and Bernard learns his lesson in the end, the story still feels empty. Bernard is never very likeable and the play lacks heart. For a play with a racy premise, “Boeing” is actually a pretty tame. Still, it isn’t appropriate for young ones and some Christians would argue that it is not appropriate for adults either. The play could actually be used as a cautionary or morality tale in the right hands. However, “Boeing Boeing” should not be taken too seriously.
“Boeing Boeing” continues its run through May 19 at the Seattle Repertory Theatre which is located at 155 Mercer St. in Seattle. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the REP at 206.443.2222. (Originally posted on Examiner.com)