BWW Reviews: Farcical BOEING BOEING Soars at Hendersonville's Playhouse Downtown
For a witty summertime romp, it's hard to beat the Playhouse Downtown's production of "Boeing Boeing" in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Marc Camoletti's zany, genially naughty farce is being presented in a breezy and sharply focused staging by director Amy Jones.
Terrific acting by an ensemble of six, meanwhile, makes this "Boeing Boeing" soar.
The 1960 comedy centers on Bernard, an American architect living in Paris. A likeable lothario, Bernard has not one, but three beautiful fiancees, each of whom works as an air hostess (i.e., flight attendant) for a different airline.
There's Gloria the American, Gretchen the German and Gabriella the Italian.
Bernard juggles his romances by paying close attention to the airline timetables. Nothing can go wrong - until it does.
Storms and faster jets result in all three women arriving at Bernard's apartment more or less at the same time.
Bernard, his nervous friend Robert and the long-suffering housekeeper Berthe work feverishly together to keep the three women in separate rooms.
Jones and her six actors embrace this extroverted comedy with gusto, offering plenty of hijinks, slamming doors and frantic running about.
Charlie Flynn-McIver offers a well-calibrated performance as Bernard, a model of smooth self-possession until things go awry, at which point he dissolves into a pool of blubbering Jello.
Versatile actor Scott Treadway brings a shambling gait and nimble comic gifts to the role of the nerdy Robert.
Three superb actresses play the air hostesses with charm and sex appeal in equal measure. Much of the play's humor is built on national stereotypes - the fiery Italian, the happy-go-lucky American - and the actresses broadly emphasize those qualities without sacrificing sincerity.
Lisa K. Bryant is the free-spirited, irrepressible American, Gloria. Catherine LeFrere plays the spitfire Italian, Gabriella, with passion and extravagant gestures. Beth Kuhn is the blunt, strong-willed (though secretly softhearted) German, Gretchen.
Paige Posey provides a deft contribution as the maid Berthe, alternately disgruntled and insouciant.
Scenic designer Chris Mueller created a stylish Parisian apartment for the production.
This effervescent "Boeing Boeing" continues through July 27. For tickets, call 828-693-0731 or 866-732-8008 or see the website www.flatrockplayhouse.org. Hendersonville's Playhouse Downtown is Flat Rock Playhouse's more intimate venue, most often featuring smaller-scale shows.
Paul Hyde is the Arts Writer for the Greenville (S.C.) News and Southeast Editor of Classical Voice North America. Follow Paul on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7.