The most performed play of French origin in the world, BOEING BOEING, is now flying high at the Ritz Theatre in HaddonTownship. With its hilarious plot and madcap humor, it’s a great audience pleaser.
Bernard (Ian Kimble), a 1960s Parisian playboy, really believes that variety is the spice of life. He has three gorgeous girlfriends of various nationalities, each of whom believes that she is his fiancée. All are flight attendants, at the time period of the play called stewardesses or air hostesses. Their flight schedules are such that he can have breakfast with one girl, drive her to her plane, and pick up another girl before lunch. And so forth. But Boeing’s new, faster jets cause a change in the schedules, with disastrous results for Bernard and great fun for the audience. To add to the fun, Bernard’s old school friend Robert (Ritz regular Craig Hutchings) decides to pay a visit, causing further confusion. And Bertha (Alice Weber), the housekeeper who has to keep track of all the “fiancées,” is busier than ever.
Kimble is suave and self-assured as Bernard—until the new schedules force him to try to cover up his polygamous lifestyle. Hutchings all but steals the show with his pratfalls and sprints over the tops of furniture, reminiscent of Jerry Lewis or Danny Kaye. (Lewis played Robert in the movie version). It all looks effortless, but you can bet he has the bruises and bumps to prove it isn’t. Bernard sometimes joins him in these antics. Kaitlyn Delengowski is the lovely American stewardess, Janet, from TWA. Jacqueline of Air France is played by Samantha Joy Pearlman with an accent as charming as herself. Jennifer Zellers, the striking, statuesque blonde Judith from Lufthansa, has scarcely arrived when she is kissing Robert. Alice Weber delights with her wry humor as the overworked Bertha. All are directed at just the right pace by Ernie Jewell, who also designed the set.
The interior design is by Lesa Knowlton, of Knowlton Interiors in Haddon Heights. The beautiful pink-and-white set enhances the frivolous 60s mood of the play, and the furnishings are a mixture of styles of the period and old-world accessories. The recorded music before the play and between the acts features French songs and appropriate pop favorites like “Come Fly with Me” and “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane.”
You’ll miss a treat if you miss this play, but you’d better hurry if the first-night audience is any indication. It’s surely one of the largest audiences in recent years for a non-musical at the Ritz. Tickets are going fast. Get yours while you can—and happy landings!
by Marc Camoletti
Adapted and Translated from the French by Beverly Cross
Directed by Ernie Jewell
February 28-March 30, 2013
Ritz Theatre Company
915 White Horse Pike
Haddon Township, NJ 08137