Review: 'Boeing, Boeing' by Goshen Players

Nancy Sasso Janis

  • Connecticut Critic
  • Connecticut Critics Circle


Goshen, CT - ‘Boeing, Boeing,’ a play by Marc Camoletti, was chosen for the Goshen Players autumn comedy production that opens their 68th season. Director Colleen Renzullo mentions in her director’s note that the Guinness Book of Records lists the farce as the most performed French play throughout the world. Ms. Renzullo was at first intimidated and excited by the amount of physical comedy involved in the show, but the intimidation disappeared in the face of talents of her daring cast and the “keen comic insight” of her stage manager Tim Phillips. 

The scene is set in Paris in the 1960s and swinging bachelor Bernard is happily living in his flat with three beautiful air hostesses, who are all engaged to him and blissfully unaware of the existence of the others. Bernard keeps a careful schedule of their arrivals and departures and it all works well, until his friend Robert arrives for a visit and the new and speedier Boeing turbo jet throws the timetables into chaos. What ensues is a very bumpy ride indeed.

The Paris flat is decorated to period perfection, with a combination of sixties mod and classic French touches. The director and Dave Boscarino designed it all. Kudos to scenic designer/dresser Ingrid Smith on a unique take on this set. Think white fur rug, a large fur beanbag chair and graphic prints mixed with paintings of Paris and the requisite bar area. However, there was no onstage juggling of the decor for each lady, nor was there a letter “G” displayed in honor of their initial.  “Fly Me to the Moon” helped sets the tone and fine costumes by Phoebe Katzin were flattering and more modest in tone. Make-up and hair by Lori Richnavsky and Jennifer Dell’Agnese was flattering and of the period. 

Ms. Renzullo, a Torrington resident who is also an actress, directed this great cast with an eye to the absurdity of the situations and good control of the physical comedy. The actors all did well with the quick entrances and exits and finely-tuned dialogue. Chrissy Flynn of Meriden made her Goshen debut as Gloria, the self-assured American air hostess in blue and Patricia Paganucci adopted an Italian accent and wore a red uniform to play the lovely Gabriella. Judith Pernal returned to Goshen Players to play the role of of the very French Berthe, Bernard’s loyal (and underpaid for all that she is expected to juggle) maid. Her facial reactions were priceless. David Machiarelli of Waterbury made his debut in Goshen to play the playboy architect Bernard, and he is at his best when the tight schedule begins to unravel.  

Tracey Brown of Meriden returned to Goshen to play the fabulous role of Gretchen, the German air hostess with a strong personality. She nailed it by commanding her scenes and we enjoyed watching her fall in love.  Another standout was Robert Kwalick in his third role in Goshen as Robert. When his character first arrived at the Paris apartment, I was concerned that he was a little too meek, but by the time he hit his stride while trying to juggle the three women, his performance was spot on. Mr. Kwalick’s comedic talent is commendable and I hope to see his work in upcoming productions in the state. 

‘Boeing, Boeing’ will never be one of my favorite plays, but it certainly has some very funny parts with great roles for actors with excellent comic timing. Perhaps it loses something in the translation from the French. The Goshen Players did a great job of bringing their audiences back to the swinging sixties and making us laugh at it all. 

The season opener is presented cabaret style at round tables of four and complimentary tea, coffee and hot chocolate are offered. Patrons may bring along snacks if they wish. Cushions with Goshen Players printed on them made the seats even more comfortable and Co-producer/house manager Lydia Babbitt encouraged ticket holders to take them home with them.  ‘Boeing, Boeing’ continues Friday evenings on October 28 and November 4, Saturday evenings on October 22, 29 and November 5 with Sunday matinees on October 23, and 30.

Pictured: (from left) David Machiarelli, Chrissy Flynn, and Robert Kwalick in 'Boeing, Boeing' Photo by Heather Boscarino