‘Boeing Boeing’ is High-Flying Farcical Fare Being Served Up by Boca Stage

The word “Boeing” is a well-known trademark — the nameplate of a famous airplane manufacturer known throughout the world, particularly for its “7”-class aircraft designations — 707, 737, 747 and so on.  (It’s also renowned for doors falling off in mid-flight, but that’s another issue).

Boca Stage – now ensconced at the Delray Playhouse – is currently boarding its second production of the season, a French farce called Boeing Boeing, a mid-20th century knee-slapper filled with craziness that makes clever but minimal use of the aircraft company’s name.

Actually, several commercial air carriers are part of the backdrop for this high-octane, high-flying tale of a philandering American lothario whose desire to date women takes place in triplicate. 

Written in 1960, the show focuses on a lady-infatuated bachelor named Bernard (excellently and at times frantically portrayed by Noah Levine), an international journalist living in Paris. 

With a mind more attuned to affairs of the heart than affairs of the world, he is “engaged” to three women – or perhaps we should say he is engaged WITH three women — all of them flight attendants for various airlines (one of them, Boeing, of course) who know nothing about the others and believe each is Bernard’s “one and only.” 

This revivified ‘60s sex farce is chock-full of physical energy, frenetic running around the set, emotional altercations and misunderstandings. The action remains contained, though, which is part of the show’s entertainment value, says Boca Stage producer and show director, Keith Garsson.

From left, Kevin Cruz, Noah Levine and Zoe Darragh Garnett in Boeing Boeing, now playing at Boca Stage in the Delray Beach Playhouse. Photo by Amy Pasquantonio.

“The authors were not content to rely solely on slamming doors and fast changes to the humor. The dialogue is quick, clever and funny. The characters are a broad spectrum of whack jobs and neurotics, each with his or her own voice, yet staying just this side of stereotypes.”

“As always, to disclose more about the plot, or even the characters, would be unthinkable as surprises and twists lurk at every turn,” he added.

In Boeing Boeing, Bernard has an intricate method for tracking his three women at all times — a system using flight schedules and copious notes to keep the sky attendants in check. Ideally, they should arrive one at a time at Bernard’s flat and leave before the next shows up.

The trio includes American Gloria (Sandi Stock), French lady Gabrielle (Zoe Darragh Garnett) and German Gretchen (JB Wing), all accomplished actors. [The day we attended, Ms. Stock was unable to perform due to illness and was replaced for that performance by Jamie Mattocks, herself an adept performer.]

While Bernard takes care of the intricate arrangements, he gets major help from his long-suffering maid, Berthe – excellently portrayed by highly admired, award-winning actress Angie Radosh – who whips around like a dervish to switch photos and flags and arrange meals to meet the varying tastes of the ladies in their comings and goings at Bernard’s place – a spot they all call ‘home.’

Angie Radosh as Berthe in Boeing Boeing, now playing at Boca Stage in the Delray Beach Playhouse. Photo by Amy Pasquantonio.

Helping to kick the wild action into overdrive is Bernard’s long-time friend, Robert (Kevin Cruz) who is staying at Bernard’s apartment until he relocates to Paris. He quickly gets to know the ladies – and even makes a move on one of them – unknown to his host.

His arrival does place him at Ground Zero when Bernard’s well-oiled tracking system begins to crumble. The advent of speedier jets and constant changes in flight schedules makes it nearly impossible to track the flight attendants and, eventually, all three end up at Bernard’s domicile at the same time. 

So, when the going threatens to get tough, Bernard calls on Robert for help. Even together, they have their hands full coming up with excuses and explanations to satisfy the flight attendants’ growing curiosities – and doubts.

Clearly, it appears a catastrophe is in the offing. Lots of shouting and acting out takes place to keep the ladies from catching on, but they are savvy and suspicious. But just when Bernard’s plan seems ready to implode, an anticipated disaster is averted. Circumstances and attitudes among Bernard’s “harem” stat changing  drastically 

Unexpected situations happen – and the audience may be surprised and even flabbergasted by the play’s conclusion which is startling and astonishing. But listen carefully to make sure you don’t miss any of the dialogue, some of which is muffled.

‘Boeing Boeing’ at the Delray Beach Playhouse. Photo by Amy Pasquantonio.

So, if you’re in the mood for a silly, sexy and farcical stage play combining the Boeing moniker with plenty of high-flying high jinks, just put your seat back in the upright position, fasten your seat belt and prepare for a madcap flight of fancy. 

Tickets for Boeing Boeing, which plays through Jan. 27, range from $39 to $49 and are available online at delraybeachplayhouse.com or by calling 561-272-1281. Performances are on Friday and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. Shows are also planned Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 24 and 25 at 12:30 p.m., all at the Delray Beach Playhouse, 950 NW 9th St., Delray Beach.

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