The French farce Boeing-Boeing, written in 1960 by Marc Camoletti, translated into English by Beverley Cross for the 1965 Broadway production, and revised by Francis Evans for the 2008 Broadway Revival, is reportedly the most performed French play throughout the world. That is understandable, because this is a laugh-a-minute show, a bone fide “door slammer,” with seven doors, to be exact in the current Oct. 21, 22, 28, and 29 community-theater presentation by The Towne Players in the Garner Performing Arts Center.
The plot is farcical, as it should be; it involves a lecherous well-off bachelor with three fiancées who, of course, do not know about each other. His life is also complicated by a cantankerous, black-mailing housekeeper, and a visiting old friend in search of a wife.
Director Beth Honeycutt says in her notes that participants in community theater share a love of their community. She thanks the audience, actors, and volunteers for keeping The Towne Players’ lights burning brightly. The sense of community — among performers, supporters, and appreciative audience — was even extended to these two out-of-town reviewers.
Beth Honeycutt has picked a fine cast, and moves them around nicely, keeping the lines responsive and fast-paced. Pratfalls and contact gags are handled with spontaneity, and the show is kept energetic. But we think she could have encouraged more variation of pitch from her actors to capture some of the emotional nuances.
The attractive set by technical director Scott Honeycutt is a large sitting room in a posh condominium in Paris, with its many doors. Its dimensions allowed full use of the entire stage for the numerous physical activities and impassioned crosses the story requires.
Kudos also go to the uncredited costumer who provided colorful, appropriate air hostess costumes and 1960s styled garb. Gretchen’s yellow, tight-fitting ensemble is stunningly delicious!
Megan Woronka is cuddly and seductive as Gloria, the American, a TWA stewardess. Her perkiness is charming and covers a small secret.
Bernard, the philandering architect, is played by Stephen Carle with an easy disregard for his conquests’ feelings, which could have had a different implication in a less hilarious context. Leslie Dahlin plays the calculating, cynical Bertha, Bernard’s housekeeper “who came with the house,” in a distant and cold-blooded manner, yet we warm up to her, as audiences tend to do with wily manipulators.
Robert, the inexperienced old friend who arrives from Wisconsin looking for romance, and stays at Bernard’s place for a few days, is played by Michael Parker. He brings a Midwestern innocence and naiveté to the role.
Derice Darlington plays Gabriella, the Italian live wire, with a wonderful accent and a flair for leaping emotionalism that rings very Mediterranean; and Gretchen, the German fiancée, is mercurial as performed by Maribeth McCarthy. She fills the room with her presence and in mock-Gestapo fashion snaps orders with blood-chilling authority. But when she’s sweet, she almost melts. Fine work.
We are fortunate in Wake County to have so many opportunities to see fine theatrical entertainment. We regret that this is the first time we’ve seen The Towne Players of Garner in action. They are well worth the short drive from Raleigh.
SECOND OPINION: Oct. 23rd Raleigh, NC Triangle Review review by Pamela Vesper and Kurt Benrud: https://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2016/10/the-towne-players-opening-night-flight-of-boeing-boeing-was-right-on-time/.
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.
BOX OFFICE: 919-779-6144, firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.etix.com/.
SHOW: http://www.towneplayers.org/ and http://www.garnernc.gov/departments/parks-recreation-and-cultural-resources/garner-performing-arts-center/whats-playing/boeing-boeing.
PRESENTER: http://www.towneplayers.org/ https://www.facebook.com/TownePlayersofGarner, and https://twitter.com/towneplayers.
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).
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.