London Classic Theatre has brought back a West End and Broadway hit, and the famous Marc Camoletti play feels fresher than ever. With a new tour production directed by Michael Cabot, Boeing Boeing is farcical and outrageous in all the right ways.
Paris, 1962 and Bernard has it all. An architect with a fancy apartment, he boasts of his perfectly organised life. Most organised is his love life. Never wanting to be bored, Bernard has three fiancées, all air hostesses with different airlines (so as never to overlap). But on one stormy evening, Bernard is in for a night of shock and surprises. With the maid having to stay on top of the lies, and the return of an old friend in the apartment, can Bernard keep his wits about him and the ladies none the wiser?
The award-winning comedy has a lovely way of hinting at its own hilarious end through the writing (this script being translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans). Whilst confidently instructing in how to have his “ideal life of polygamy”, the cracks in Bernard’s plans are obvious to the audience and build the tension and excitement in waiting for the impending mayhem.
Like sitting down and watching a classic TV comedy play out in front of you, the bright lights and colours adorn the set almost like a studio. The simplistic apartment design (by Bek Palmer) creates an inviting
open space for the audience to consume the chaos; the half moon of doors drawing in the eye as we wait
for them to be opened.
The award winning comedy has a lovely way of hinting at it’s own hilarious end through the writing (this script being translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans). Whilst confidently instructing in how to have his “ideal life of polygamy”, the cracks in Bernard’s plans are obvious to the audience and build the excitement in waiting for the impending mayhem.
John Dorney (Absurd Person Singular) gives an impressive turn as Bernard, coming into his own when he erratically unravels. Squirming and stomping across the stage, Dorney’s physicality in the role is a particular highlight of the show. The suave Bernard is nowhere to be seen in the second act and is replaced by a broken man regressing into a toddler having a tantrum. It’s ridiculously satisfying to see him get his comeuppance.
In contrasting gorgeous costumes (also by Palmer), we meet Bernard’s glamorous girls. First is the kooky American, Gloria, played with irresistible, infectious energy by Isabel Della-Porta (The Lost Daughter). Next, storming onto the stage with her patriotic passion is the hilarious Jessica Denis (The Habit of Art) as “the German”, Gretchen. And finally, we meet fiery Italian, Gabriella, played with real warmth by Nathalie Barclay (Fools Rush In). All leading ladies are experts at putting the audience at ease with superb accents and comedic performances that are equally as effortless.
The other lady in Bernard’s life is exasperated, moaning maid, Bertha. Jo Castleton (War Horse) has no problem relishing in the awkwardness of her interactions, and the Northern accent is a touch of genius to bring out Bertha’s natural negativity.
Paul Sandys (Private Lives) is a joy as sweet, naïve Robert. Never taking a sideways glance to the audience for granted, his portrayal keeps the whole show together as he asks the questions that we’re all thinking about. Sandys plays Robert with a child-like intrigue and expression, whilst also never flailing in the energy needed to convince us of his excitement.
The script builds and builds, with the pace getting faster and faster, and so the show asks a lot of its cast. Even with a few technical difficulties and a brief break to fix them, the cast did not disappoint, conjuring even more laughs on their return to the stage. A tour-de-force that I’m sure anyone would giggle at, it’s a brilliant comedy with an even more brilliant cast.
Boeing Boeing runs until 28th May, https://www.theatrclwyd.com/event/boeing-boeing
Reviewer: Coral Mourant
Reviewed: 25th May 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★