Written by French playwright Marc Camoletti with an English translation by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans, Boeing, Boeing was a huge hit when it premiered in London in 1962, running for seven years. However a subsequent Broadway production lasted only 23 performances. The play returned to London and Broadway in 2007 and 2008, respectively, and had a fairly respectable run of about a year in each city.
|John Scherer and Beth Leavel|
|Beth Leavel, Anne Horack, John Scherer, |
Matt Walton and Brynn O'Malley
Now, having never seen a production of this show before, I'm not quite certain what made the former runs of this show so healthy, but the Paper Mill production seems to be lacking the appropriate pacing that farce requires in several earlier scenes. Perhaps this is what happened with that 23 performance original Broadway run. The play starts slow and continues that way for about the first 30 minutes, this pace means there are very few laughs in the beginning of the show except for a chuckle here and there. While it might seem correct to let the show build to the all out insanity that we know will come later, it is just too slow for a comedy. Director James Brennan might be thinking this is the correct approach, but if that was his plan he needs to remember this is a comedy after all, we are there to laugh. The fact that he almost always has most of the ladies practically screaming their lines also forces the audience to suspend any sense of reality that the other ladies who sometimes are just behind a door in one of the other rooms in Bernard's apartment never hear a word that is being said. Brennan also adds a little too much flatulent sounds in one scene that combined with the screaming ladies and the slow beginning turn this into a lesser comical farce than I think it could be.
|Matt Walton and Beth Leavel|
The ladies in the show are all pretty good. All four are basically playing stereotypes of the 60's and they play them splendidly. Beth Leavel is Bertha and she manages to ring just about every comical bit out of the part including a funny bit of a tumble down the stairs with all dignity lost, bloomers exposed and legs spread. As the three flight attendants, all three are pulling off very humorous accents, Anne Horak was my favorite as the German girl, all hard and rough around the edges and Brynn O’Malley as the Italian one was all fiery and passionate. Both of them made really indelible impressions. Only Heather Parcells as the American girl with a thick Southern accent was just ho hum. But I think that is more to do with the part and direction and not Parcells, as the character isn't given nearly as much funny business as the other girls.
|The fun curtain call|
Paper Mill Playhouse Website
Highlights from the show: