Oh! What a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!
~ Sir Walter Scott ~
Welcome to the Garner Performing Arts Center! Prepare to laugh and clap! Welcome also to Bernard’s apartment in 1960’s Paris!
As the lights come up on The Towne Players’ community-theater production of Boeing-Boeing, we meet the American architect Bernard and his fiancée, an air hostess with TWA who is also an American. Soon, we will meet his housekeeper and his American friend, Robert, who has just arrived in town. A bit later, we meet his other two fiancées, one Italian and one German, air hostesses with Alitalia and Lufthansa, respectively.
Three fiancées? No problem. As Bernard says, “It all boils down to juggling timetables and a reliable maid who never forgets to change the photographs.” We, however, seem to have arrived on a day when a few unforeseen events re-juggle the timetables. How reliable can his maid be now? And will everything start to boil up rather than boil down?
Beth Honeycutt directs this classic French farce, written by Marc Camoletti, translated by Beverley Cross, and revised by Francis Evans. The pace is brisk, and the sight-gags and surprise entrances are well-timed. Farces often leave us feeling that the ending was overly contrived. In the case of this production, however, several minute details help make the dénouement seem totally correct.
Director Beth Honeycutt has assembled a talented cast, and they work well together. Stephen Carl plays Bernard — cool, confident, calculating, and just a bit arrogant. Carl shows him gradually losing his “cool,” as his increasingly tangled web of deception progressively unravels. His mannerisms are somewhat reminiscent of some of Tim Conway’s characters as he responds to the need to recalculate and re-explain. This is a good thing.
Megam Woronka gives us a bright and cheery Gloria, the American fiancée. She knows what she wants and how to get it. The chemistry between Gloria and Bernard is just right.
Leslie Dahlin is delightful as Bertha, Bernard’s maid, who is also clever and calculating. Her loyalty is never in question, and neither are her motives. Dahlin shows a mastery of the art of delivering lines with the appropriate degree of irony and/or sarcasm. The character knows how to couch a threat, and the actor knows how to keep us clued in.
Speaking of Tim Conway, Michael Parker’s Robert is also quite entertaining as he bumblingly tries to help Bernard salvage the situation. When circumstances call for pratfalls, they are smoothly executed.
As Gabrielle, the Italian fiancée, Derice Darlington is another treat. There is a bit of stereotyping going on here, but that adds nicely to the flavor. The Gabrielle-Bernard chemistry is also believable and appropriate, given the outcome.
And while we are having fun with stereotyping, be prepared to duck when you meet Gretchen, Bernard’s German fiancée. Maribeth McCarthy portrays her as passionate and fiery, easily provoked. Watch for the fun as a mistaken identity leads to an interesting change of heart. McCarthy’s Gretchen keeps us entertained with a take-no-prisoners style.
The show’s technical director is A. Scott Honneycutt. Husband to the director, he collaborated with her in set design, giving us a comfortable Paris apartment. He also designed and ran both sound and light. Costumes include three authentic-looking 1960’s stewardess uniforms, complete with the “cute little hats.”
Our Department of Pick-Picky noticed a couple of lighting glitches on opening night and a bit of unevenness in the sound. We are certain that these with be ironed out. Also: there were a few times in the first scene when Bernard’s voice conveyed an unexpected degree of animosity toward Bertha.
Boeing-Boeing takes flight again next weekend. We encourage everyone to reserve a seat; all seats are first-class — aisle, window, or middle.
SECOND OPINION: Oct. 23rd Raleigh, NC Triangle Review review by Martha Keravuori and Chuck Galle: http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2016/10/the-towne-players-production-of-marc-camolettis-boeing-boeing-is-a-laugh-a-minute-show/.
The Towne Players present BOEING-BOEING at 8 p.m. Oct. 28 and 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Garner Performing Arts Center, 742 W. Garner Rd., Garner, North Carolina 27529.
TICKETS: $11.24 matinee and $14.05 evening.
VENUE: http://www.garnernc.gov/departments/parks-recreation-and-cultural-resources/garner-performing-arts-center, https://www.facebook.com/GarnerHistoricAuditorium, and https://twitter.com/gpacgarner.
Boeing-Boeing (1960 Paris, 1962 West End, 1965 Broadway, and 2008 Broadway Revival farce): http://www.boeingboeing.co.uk/ (official U.K. West End website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-show/boeing-boeing-2133 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing-Boeing_%28play%29 (Wikipedia).
The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Marc Camoletti (French playwright, 1923-2003): https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/marc-camoletti-7490 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0131942/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Camoletti_%28playwright%29 (Wikipedia).
Beth Honeycutt (Garner, NC director): https://www.facebook.com/beth.honeycutt2 (Facebook page).
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.