Boeing Boeing is a farce centred around the character of Bernard, who lives in a flat in Paris with his three air hostess fiancees – taking advantage of their different flight schedules to ensure that none of them meet each other. However, just as his friend Robert turns up to stay for the weekend, the schedules are shaken up and Bernard and Robert must struggle to keep the women from learning the truth.
Marc Camoletti’s classic 1962 comedy was once the most produced French play in the world. Nowadays, it’s rather dated – planes are much faster now, air hostesses are flight attendants, we have mobile phones and, let’s face it, it’s a little bit sexist and definitely stereotypes the nations to which Bernard’s fiancees belong. I have to admit that I was hoping for Bernard to get his comeuppance. That said, viewed as a period piece there is still a good deal of humour in the play, and I enjoyed myself.
This is largely because of the strong performances: Sarah Mahony (Gabriella), Ellie Rose Boswell (Gloria) and Joanna Hickman (Gretchen) developed their respective characters’ personalities, while Fred Bloom did well as the philanderer Bernard. However, my favourites were the supporting performers in the farce: Tom Cornish as Robert and Megan Leigh Mason as the maid Bertha. Cornish does a great job as the reluctant accomplice to Bernard’s schemes, with lots of physical comedy and terrified expressions. I loved Mason’s character, who was extremely disapproving of her employer’s lifestyle and was always on hand to deliver a sarcastic comment or a dry remark.
Overall, this is an excellent production of a funny play. Some of the attitudes are definitely old-fashioned but there is still much to enjoy.