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BWW Reviews: BOEING-BOEING by Repertory Philippines

By Precious Lee Cundangan

Manila, Philippines, February 6, 2013 -- When the play's director is all smiles on opening night, you can tell the show is off to a good start.

Such was the case of Miguel Faustmann ("Next Fall," "The Sound of Music"), director and set designer of Repertory Philippines's (Rep) production of Tony Award-winning comedy "Boeing-Boeing," who was very relaxed, enthusiastic to talk about his newest project a few minutes before showtime.

Faustmann could not help but share with BroadwayWorld how funny the play is, and how he would love to direct a Tagalog translation of it.

"Imagine the play is set in the Philippines with stewardesses from Cebu Pacific, Zest Air, and Philippine Airlines; and a childhood friend coming from the province. It'd be very hilarious!" Faustmann told us.

With "Boeing-Boeing," a play written by French playwright Marc Camoletti, and translated in English by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans, Rep has officially opened its 76th season at full throttle!

The play, arguably one of the best comedies interpreted on Philippine stage, boasts sleek, fluid stage direction that has its audience on the edge of their seats anticipating each of the play's character's next move.

Despite the fact that the play is set in Paris in the '60s, the production introduces multinational characters in humorous situations that are relatable.

The set design has undeniable '60s influence, especially with its frescoes and its other wall embellishments. Faustmann's sets also reflect how he very well understood the material, and the elements of farce by placing five doors on stage, which keeps the audience guessing, "What if the door opened; what would happen next?" -- thus eliciting a heightened engrossment among the theatergoers.

Raven Ong's ("Jekyll and Hyde," "39 Steps") costumes work well, especially when providing a good contrast between the sophisticatedly charming Bernard (David Bianco, whose devilishly handsome American Don Juan is in top form) and Bernard's less-fashionable childhood friend Robert (Topper Fabregas, whose take on Robert is a perfect foil to Bianco's Bernard -- especially when chaos comes calling).

The show's air hostesses Gabriella (Giannina Ocampo), Gretchen (Carla Dunareanu), and Gloria (Jennifer Blair-Bianco) enjoy more than their "15 minutes of fame" on stage. The most notable performance belongs to Dunareanu's passionate, hopeless romantic German hostess with a strong accent, which makes the audience roar with laughter.

Housemaid Bertha's (Baby Barredo) emotions and opinions -- both solicited and unsolicited -- zig and zag like a slithering snake, quiet at first, then frantic with smart quips and sarcastic words of life wisdom.

In "Boeing- Boeing," handsome, dashing playboy Bernard feels like the definitive Don Juan as he juggles three beautiful fiancées -- all sultry and sexy air hostesses.

Bernard believes he is on top of his love game; but on the invention of the Boeing jet, Bernard's deceitful schemes take many unexpected twists and turns that leave the audience in stitches.

Rep's production of "Boeing-Boeing" runs at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1, Ayala Malls until Sunday, February 17.

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