Paul Johnson | 11 Feb 2016 11:58am
Classic farce can still provide plenty of laughs
Boeing Boeing, one of the most delicious farces ever written, conquered the world stage in the Sixties, and made its author the sort of fortune the Palace’s own home-grown multi-millionaire farce-writer Ray Cooney can only hope to dream about.
Now, half a century later, the antics of womaniser Bernard, who juggles three air-hostess girlfriends (on the basis that any two of them will be in mid-air while the earth moves for the third of the trio), has been revived by Little Theatre Company.
As a laughter-machine, Boeing Boeing has not aged at all. The jokes, routines and comic situations are still hiliarious. LTC’s players, best recognised for their productions of musicals, prove just as adept at the fast footwork and even faster verbal repartee needed for farce.
Making a particular mark in this production is Darren Harper, as Benard’s friend Robert, who pays him a brief visit at his Paris apartment, and becomes caught up in the mayhem as all three air hostesses converge on Bernard’s apartment at the same time. Laura Harper, as Italian hostess Gabriella, who morphs from a warm and cuddly poppet to a spitting lava-ball of fury, is also marvellous.
Julian Cottee as the panicky philanderer Benard, Victoria Tewes as German hostess Gretchen, Laura Witherall as Trans-American stewardess Gloria, and Sue Morely as Benards’s hard-pressed maid, complete a cast who work together flawlessly as the verbal and physical cues build up machine build up to machine-gun fire rapidity.
Laughter apart, there is one other great pleasure in Colin Bott’s production – the sense of nostalgia for a world without mobile phones or easyJet, where air hostesses were still regarded as the height of glamour.
Has Boeing Boeing’s long absence from the stage been because the idea of a man manipulating three women was regarded as un-PC? If so, it would be a mistake. In the end, the three girls prove smarter and more knowing than the men, and they call all the shots. So things haven’t changed that much in 50 years since Boeing Boeing first flew.
- : user
- : 13/05/2015