Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Boeing Boeing

Pops and I headed to the Alley for the opening night of Boeing-Boeing, the final production of the season.

From the Houston Chronicle review:
« The Alley Theatre closes its current season in grand style with its rollicking re-creation of director Matthew Warchus' hit West End and Broadway revival of Marc Camoletti's jet-propelled comedy.

Restaging this definitive treatment for the Alley, Lisa Spirling has maintained its look, pace, spirit and comic invention, right down to Rob Howell's fabulously apt setting and costumes. Spirling has subtly tuned its larger-than-life physicality and ingenious stage business to suit the Alley's sextet of splendid farceurs.

Boeing-Boeing rates as a major rediscovery. Though sex farces were a dime a dozen in the 1960s, the genre is seldom seen today. So a really good one, superbly realized, now registers as refreshing rather than old hat.

Boeing-Boeing's terrific premise gives the farce a firm foundation. In his Paris pad, American architect Bernard juggles three airline-hostess fiancees: the American Gloria, Italian Gabriella and German Gretchen. With a complex system based on their flight schedules and the assistance of his disapproving housekeeper, Berthe, Bernard keeps each woman unaware of the others' existence. But when a new and faster jet changes all the women's schedules, Bernard's system hits turbulence. Especially since that happens while Robert, Bernard's bumbling college buddy from Wisconsin, is visiting.

This production shows its understanding of the play's principle, as expressed by Bernard. “It's all about geometry.” And so it is: the manipulation of time, space and bodies in motion, achieved in bold strokes that betoken artistry as well as confident energy.

If this frothy frolic doesn't prove one of the Alley's biggest crowd-pleasers in years, I'll eat my flight bag. »