Pulling off a “farce” is one of the hardest tasks of any acting company and its director. Over the years, we have been treated to many such comic tales where timing is of course the essential and many doors are used to “work the room” ( so to speak). Drury Lane Theatre, known for its wonderful musicl productions, each year, brings us one comedy, non-musical and for this season’s non-musical, they are reviving the “revival version” of “Boeing-Boeing”, written by Marc Camoletti ( translations by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans) and directed to perfection by Dennis Zacek ( one of our town’s finest).
As mentioned, part of what makes a one set “farce” work is the set, which in reality, is almost a character in the story. Sam Ball’s design of a large apartment with many doors leading to many rooms is wonderful, as is the amazing furniture and Nick Heggested’s props are sheer perfection. The story is very basis. Bernard, our “hero” ( deftly handled by Stef Tovar) lives a very special life in this wonderful apartment. He is engaged to three ( yes the number is 3) ladies, who are all airline flight attendants and with the aid of his housekeeper,Berthe ( the hysterical Nora Dunn) and the airline time-table, he is able to keep them away from each other. When an old school chum arrives in Paris, Bernard is quick to explain his wonderful plan and Robert ( Dan Cantor shows his incredible comic timing in this role), a sort of “nerd” from Wisconsin, quickly becomes his companion in arms thinking that this may just be the right way to live his life as well.
As it turns out, the announcement of the new “Boeing” turbo engine, which will make air travel quicker is brought up to throw a hitch into Bernard’s master plan, but in this two hours and twenty minutes, it is a series of other situations that cause Bernard’s “system” to fall apart. Let me introduce you to the three “fiancees”- Gabriella ( the stunning Dina Dicostanzo, who we are used to seeing as a dancer,shows her solid acting ability), Gretchen ( newcomer, Katherine Keberlein, who I am sure we will see more of in the future and Gloria ( the lovely Kara Zediker). Each is employed by a different airline and as noted, each has the same initial, making it easy for Bernard to keep the linen straight.
As the story goes on, a series of mishaps with the airline schedules cause near misses for the three women to run into each other inn the same apartment and Robert begins to develop a sort of relationship with each of the women. In fact, I would have to say that Robert might be considered the main character in the plot and Bernard his foil and his reason for being there. The entire cast is one of great timing as they go into and out of the doors that are cleverly used to make special moments very special. In order for a play like this to work, each actor must be up to the physical humor that their character must be part of and every movement must be precise .Zacek and his cast hit the nail on the head! As in almost all of these “farces” it does take a few scenes to set the pace and the storyline, so often it seems a bit slow and even “boring” until we truly get into the story and the mishaps that cause the humor that the play was designed to bring to us. My suggestion, go for the enjoyment of escaping from your reality into the magic of pure “farce” they way it is meant to be. You will leave the the theater with a smile on your face and another one in your heart!l on the head!
“Boeing-Boeing” will continue at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook through August 14th with performances as follows:
Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 5 and 8:30 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m and 6 p.m.
Tickets range from $35-$49 and lunch/dinner packages from $50-$74 ( the food is wonderful). Senior discounts are available as well as student packages. To order your tickets call 630-530-01111 or Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or visit www.drurylane.com
Drury Lane is located just south of the OakBrook shopping enter and has plenty of free parking
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Boeing-Boeing”