REVIEW: ‘Boeing, Boeing’ Takes Humor to New Heights

I must confess I wasn’t familiar with this play, but rather the 1965 film which starred Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis in the lead roles. Thankfully, Avon Players Theatre president John (JD) Deierlein set me straight that the play (1960) is what inspired the movie. But even if neither version was on your radar, you’ll definitely want to buckle up for Avon Players’ take on this riotous romp.

Surrounded! Bernard (Patrick Butcher) with his fiancees from left to right: Gabriella (Marie Burchi), Gretchen (Johannah Steinbrecher-Booker), and Gloria (Joy Oetjens)
Photo courtesy of Avon Players Theatre Facebook page

Set in 1965, Boeing, Boeing is a French farce, which means there is an abundance of misdirection, misunderstanding, and most importantly, loads of laughs. All the action takes place in the course of one day, which only adds to the character’s frenzied pace throughout the show. From the moment you enter the theatre, you are immersed into the swinging sixties mindset. Peggy (Properties) and JD (Set/Lighting Design) Deierlein did a fabulous job giving the stage a fresh, fun vibe, while paying great attention to detail — right down to the Frank Sinatra record jacket I could see peeking out from underneath the bar. Another bonus was all the cool music, such as The Beach Boys, The Temptations, The Supremes, and more played throughout the evening that really helped set the mood. Dan Romzek, who is a familiar face on the Avon Players stage, is also to be commended for such a wonderful directorial debut.

Suave and confident Bernard (played by the dashing Patrick Butcher) is living the dream as an architect in Paris. Then one day out-of-the blue, an old acquaintance, Robert (played charmingly by Patrick Daniels) shows up. In the course of catching up, Bernard clues Robert into his secret: he’s dating not one, not two, but three beautiful women played with maximum hilarity by Joy Oetjens, Marie Burchi, and Johannah Steinbrecher-Booker. Naturally, Robert is surprised by Bernard’s nonchalant attitude, as well as his ability to juggle three women at one time when Robert would be happy with just one woman. Bernard’s ‘perfect system’ hinges on the fact that his fiancées are all air hostesses with different airlines and therefore, different flight schedules. Begrudgingly aiding Bernard in his deception is his maid, Berthe. Played marvelously by Lesa Bydalek, Berthe is a kooky combination of sarcasm and sass, who happens to look a little like Edna Mode from the Disney movie The Incredibles (a bonus in my book). She’s basically the crazy glue helping to hold the whole charade together by continuously swapping out photos and favorite meals. Mathematically, nothing can go wrong Bernard tells Robert, which of course means there’s definitely turbulence ahead. And before you can yell ‘Mayday!’ it’s a flurry of exits and entrances, with Bernard, Robert, and Berthe desperately trying to keep their stories straight and their sanity intact. Preferably before the liquor runs out.

Bottom’s up! Berthe (Lesa Bydalek) does her best to keep up with the ever-changing events her employer throws her way.
Photo courtesy of Avon Players Theatre Facebook page

Boeing, Boeing is a welcomed respite from the depressing headlines dominating the news these days. So, do yourself a favor and reserve your first-class seat to an afternoon or evening of high-flying hijinks.

Tickets for all shows are $18. Call 248-608-9077 for tickets or order online at www.AvonPlayers.org. Group rates are available by calling the box office. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. All seats are reserved for the following dates and times:

Friday, January 26              8:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 27         8:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 28           2:00 p.m.

Friday, February 2             8:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 3         8:00 p.m.

 

About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

Comments

  1. Leanne Lindsay says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed myself! The ending caught me by surprise. Everyone did a great job, especially Patrick Butcher. His acting angst was contagious! I was so worried for his character!

    • Leanne, I too was a little surprised at the ending and Patrick did indeed do a fantastic job. And a little trivia for you – Tony Curtis played the part of Bernard in the movie.

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