Review: Boeing Boeing at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Angelica Potter

  • Boston Theatre Critic

The outlandish farce Boeing Boeing now plays on The Winnipesaukee Playhouse stage in Meredith, New Hampshire. Originally written by Marc Camoletti and translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans, it is the story of Bernard, a Parisian bachelor played by William Wilder, who has, through meticulous calculations, gotten himself intertwined with three fiancés. There’s Gloria, an American air hostess played by Rebecca Tucker, Gabriella, an Italian air hostess played by Molly Parker Myers, and Gretchen, a German air hostess played by Suzanne Kimball. The essential factor that keeps all his fiancés from ending up in their Paris flat at one time is the fact that they all work for different airlines and have different routes around the world.

 Photo Credit: (L to R) Rebecca Tucker, William Wilder, Suzanne Kimball, & Molly Parker Myers in Boeing Boeing. Photo by Matthew Lomanno.

Photo Credit: (L to R) Rebecca Tucker, William Wilder, Suzanne Kimball, & Molly Parker Myers in Boeing Boeing. Photo by Matthew Lomanno.

When Boeing introduces a larger, faster aircraft the odds for Bernard's well-crafted life style to disastrously crumble exponentially increase. Thankfully, his housekeeper Berthe, played by Barbara Webb, helps him keep it all sorted. When his old school friend Robert, outstandingly played by Nicholas Wilder, comes to visit, rather than showing him how easily he keeps his charade with three fiancés working, Bernard inadvertently demonstrates just how easily forces beyond his control can send his world into a tail spin.

Played out in a colorful living room that was designed by Dan Daly and lit by Becky Marsh, the bright design elements matched the vibrant characters that inhabited the space. The costumes, designed by Lori McGinley, paired nicely with each character and their personality. The sound design by Neil Pankhurst included pre-show music that featured jazzy instrumentals, bluesy tunes sung in French, and a bit of Frank Sinatra. The music effortlessly eased the audience into a relaxed state making them ready for a few laughs, and laugh they did.

If the farfetched story summary wasn’t clear, this play is a classic farce. It is filled with overdone characterizations, bordering on obnoxious accents and non-stop physical comedy. While all that might make a regular comedic play seem overtly over the top and unbelievable, when it comes to a farce if it’s not exaggerated, the well timed physical action and punch line delivery won’t have the same effect on the audience. The goal of a farce is to make the audience laugh and while the circumstances the characters find themselves in can be ridiculous, it makes how they handle those situations all the more humorous for the audience. 

This cast did a splendid job presenting this highly entertaining play. It was clear the audience enjoyed escaping from reality for a few hours of frivolous fun. ©  

Boeing Boeing runs about two and a half hours including intermission and plays at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse until July 7th. Performances are Mondays through Saturdays at 7:30pm with a matinee on July 2nd at 2pm. There are no performances on Sunday or July 4th. Tickets range from $20-$34. For additional information and tickets visit www.winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org 

Special Events from the Education Department:

Friday, June 29th – How’d They Do That?

Following the performance, you’re invited to join the technical staff for a backstage tour of Boeing Boeing and learn the secrets of the set.

Tuesday, July 3rd - Talkback
Following the performance, you’re invited for an informal discussion with the cast and creative team.

Thursday, July 5th, 6-6:45pm – Symposium

Pre-show presentation offering insight into the play. Boeing, Boeing and The Three-Body Problem. Presented by Thom Beaulieu, BFA in Drama, Carnegie Mellon University & MS in Physics, Georgia State University.

For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com/