DUAL CRITICS REVIEW: Boeing Boeing at Theatre Jacksonville

The play, by French playwright Marc Camoletti, debuted in Paris in 1960, where it remained on stage for nineteen years. The English translation opened in London in 1962, where it ran for seven years. An American version staged on Broadway in 1965 closed after a short run, but was then made into a successful film with stars Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis. The play was revived on Broadway in 2008, and was awarded a Tony for Best Play Revival. Since then, it has become a staple of community and regional theaters.

Our beloved community theatre, Theatre Jacksonville, opened Boeing Boeing on April 20th, 2018. This classic farce runs through Sunday May 6th. The theatre is located at 2032 San Marco Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida. Visit theatrejax.com for additional information or call 904-396-4425 for reservations.

The setting is a large luxurious apartment (four bedrooms) that overlooks the city of Paris, and is occupied by Bernard (Kenny Logsdon), an American architect. He loves life in Paris; he has three carefully-chosen fiancées. They work for separate airlines as air hostesses, and he keeps track of their arrivals and departures with airline timetables. He has no intention of marrying, but they don’t know that. And they don’t know about each other, either.

Bernard is assisted by Berthe, his overworked full time housekeeper, portrayed hilariously by Vanessa Warner with a heavy French accent. Berthe’s work includes keeping the apartment spotless and cooking foods from three different cuisines. It’s Texas-style for Gloria (Jenna Bourne), a TWA hostess dressed in blue who believes in women’s rights, and Italian for Gabriella (Da[p2p type="post_tag" value="tracy-anne-olin"]nielle Dobies[/p2p]), who wears a stunning red uniform from Alitalia Airlines. Gretchen, from Lufthansa, must have Germanic dishes. She is forceful, decked out in yellow, and has one of the funniest roles. St. Augustine actress Cathy O’Brien, reprising a role she previously performed at Limelight Theatre, is once again sidesplitting funny.

All three of these lovely ladies have received a treasured engagement ring from Bernard, and are thrilled about their future marriages.

The best laid plans sometimes just aren’t laid well enough, as we see when Robert (Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "Christopher Watson") drops by for a visit on his way to the south of France to see a relative. Robert is from Wisconsin, where he and Bernard were schoolmates twenty years ago. He lacks polished social skills and is shy. And while he disapproves of Bernard’s deceptions, he soon becomes entangled romantically with two of the ladies. He is a high-wired scene stealer and provides much of the farcical comedy.

Then disaster strikes; modern planes have been getting faster and faster, and you can imagine the problem it presents for Bernard and Robert as the arrivals of the girls begin to overlap. As this a farce, a flurry of lies ensues, along with the banging of many doors.

The show was directed by Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "Tracy Anne Olin" who has both directed and appeared in varied roles in a number of TJ productions. She is also an extraordinary costume designer, and has costumed over fifty shows on our local stages. For this show, Curtis J. Williams is credited with the creation of the wonderful costumes; he and Tracy have worked together on a number of TJ productions.

Of interest: All six of the fine actors in this Boeing Boeing have appeared in other plays at TJ in the past. And next up for Theatre Jacksonville, Mamma Mia! June 8 – 24, 2018.

The production team included Tracy Anne Olin (Director); Tim Watson (Scenic, Lighting, Technical Designer); Curtis J. Williams (Costume Designer); Jon Scherf (Graphic Designer); Ron Haynes (Stage Manager); Sean Olin (Sound Designer); Ashish Bajaj, Michelle Simkulet (Properties); Mark Rubens (Sound & Light Board).        

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.