BWW Reviews: Town Hall Presents the Comedy BOEING-BOEING, Amusing but Never Achieves Hilarity
Town Hall Arts Center presents the comedy BOEING-BOEING,(by Marc Camoletti, translated by Beverly Cross & Francis Evans) playing now through February 9th. Playboy Bernard juggles three fiancées, all flight attendants, with careful planning and the reluctant assistance of his housekeeper. But weather delays and the invention of a faster Boeing jet send his elaborate love life into chaos.
After director Bob Wells carefully orchestrated and geniusly executed last year's hit comedy, THE 39 STEPS (that deserved every award and accolade that it received), I was a little surprised at the lack attention to the finer funny details in this classic. No don't get me wrong, the show was funny and the audience and I did enjoy it, but it clearly had the potential for more. Had the cast and production team taken a little more time to analyze and explore this vastly comical script, it would have elevated this production from just funny to absolutely, side-splitting hilarity. Here are a couple of golden comedic opportunities and bits that I feel were missed - the line "Stopping in Stuttgart" was played straight instead of adding a heavy "sch" to get the laugh; the odd and somewhat homoerotic staging of the fight between Bernard and Robert could have been a over the top slap scene that would have the audience in stitches and finally there were so many doors just taunting the cast to be opened, but this show was missing the classic quick succession slam routine that the set was begging for.
One other observation on my part was the excessive amount of times that Robert says he is from Wisconsin (seriously at least ten). While Casey did not need to do a complete Wisconsin accent, this repetition was begging for a "don'tcha know", "ya sure", or "you betcha". I would have even taken it one step further and added odd facts about Wisconsin after every line (think Spelling Bee "Can you use the word in a sentence?"). Here are a couple of fun and obscure facts that still have me chuckling:
Didn'tcha Knoh that - Wisconsin is the Ginseng capital of the world; Wisconsin is home of the first successful Typewriter; Wisconsin is the birthplace of the Ice Cream Sundae; Wisconsin is the Jump Rope capital of the world; Wisconsin is the home of America's first Kindergarden (thank you whoonew.com)?
Damon Guerrasio was superb in this show and exuded the suave confidence that our playboy, Bernard needed for this complex show. I loved his diversity of emotions into his slow descent into madness as his foolproof plan began to unravel. Leslie Randle Chapman was also quite good as his sassy housemaid, Berdie. I only wish that she had either had a tacky French accent or kept the American accent and overemphasized the "Monsieur" and "Madame" that she used so many times in the show. This was Casey Andree's time to shine in the frantic and memorable role of Bernard's buddy, Robert. While I thought that his crazed antics were a bit too much at times, I realized that they were completely necessary to keep the plot and the mayhem rolling right along. In addition to his hilarious performance, his variety of facial expressions kept everyone entertained. Lauren Balhman seemed like the most grounded one of the group as Gloria. I loved her confidence and you could tell that she felt comfortable in this role and just had fun with it. The ever shifting power-dynamic between her and Bernard made us wonder exactly who was playing with whom in this affair. Cailin Doran was just fantastic as the hot-headed, Gabriella and I simply adored her Italian accent. She played this role with ease and grace with several dashes of amising, passionate madness. I also completely fell for Nicole Campbell's oh so funny portrayal as the stern and dramatic Gretchen. With her awesome German accent and fiery emotions, she had the best performance of the night in my opinion and had the audience in stitches every time she came barreling onstage.
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