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BWW Review: BOEING BOEING Soars at Highwood Theater

BWW Review: BOEING BOEING Soars at Highwood Theater

Highwood Theater in Silver Spring has been providing education in a "community-produced" environment for more than 10 years, but recently has moved into producing professional theater in their new black box theater. I applaud the work that founder and Executive Director Kevin Kearney has been doing and the organization he has created.

The 1960's French farce Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti and translated by Beverly Cross, with revisions by Frances Evans has been a favorite of theaters since its premier in 1962. The French version was adapted into a successful Jerry Lewis / Tony Curtis movie in 1965 and was recently revived on Broadway. The show is a typical romp of a story of an American who is juggling three fiancés in his Paris flat, all of whom are flight "hostesses" and on different schedules, until unexpected flight delays means all three will be in town at the same time.

The production, which opened on Friday, January 27, and closes a week later at Highwood is an array of professional elements coming together. For the most part, the professional cast does a fine job with the text and playing the absurdity. The strongest of the cast of six is Sheila Blanc as the insufferable maid, Berthe, who's main duty is to "never forget to change the photographs". Ms. Blanc is c'est magnifique in her portrayal and as the veteran of the cast brings a good credibility to the stage. The remainder of the cast includes trio of "air hostesses", Gabrielle, the Italian (Nina Marti), Gretchen, the German (Moriah Whiteman), and Gloria, the American (Ashley Zielinski). The playboy, Bernard (David Johnson), and the best friend, Robert (LOUIS LAVOIE) round out the cast. Mr. Lavoie is also exceptional as the "in way over his head" friend who becomes an unwilling accomplice in the antics.

While the play itself has many funny moments, the one thing this production is lacking is the over the top physicality of farcical theater. The script is serviceable, but the true comedy comes from the physical bits, which director Sarah Scott misses the mark on. While she is complicit in telling the story, the show never quite hits the mark of comedy, and the actors only have so much ability with the script.

Set and lighting designer Kevin Kearney provides an adequate playing space, but does not define key elements. It was hard to tell if the patio set was meant to be outside from the planters and sconces, yet all the doors led to interior rooms. The lighting design was sufficient, but the low ceiling in the space makes shadows unavoidable. Tip Letsche's costume design and Jason Reid's props were stellar, particularly the airline branded bags with the proper livery for the era.

Overall Boeing Boeing is enjoyable and as Highwood Theater continues to thrive, so will the quality of the productions. This was a good start to what I hope is a long life of producing student productions and professional works as well.

Boeing Boeing plays through Sunday, February 5, 2017 at Highwood Theater, 914 Silver Spring Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910. For tickets, visit the online box office, or call 301-587-0697.

Warning: the theater is not handicapped accessible. It is on the second floor of the building with no elevator.

BWW Review: BOEING BOEING Soars at Highwood Theater

BWW Review: BOEING BOEING Soars at Highwood Theater

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From This Author Keith Tittermary

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