Boeing Boeing, opened September 26th to a fabulous premiere. The audience was on the edge of their seats laughing.
The comedy is about a man who has three stewardesses he is in love with and tries to juggle all their timetables in his apartment in France in the 1960’s.
It stars Peter Scolari from Bosom Buddies, Honey I Shrunk the Kids and The Bob Newhart Show.
Ellen played the American flight attendant Gloria.
Ellen played the American Stewardess Gloria as a redhead in the comedy farce BOEING BOEING.
“Legs” Dubin and Peter Scolari
The Hamilton Spectator
Review by Gary Smith
What: Boeing Boeing
Where: Stage West Dinner Theatre,
5400 Dixie Rd., Mississauga
When: To Nov. 23
Tickets: Various dinner and brunch packages
You know you’re watching a farce when all the doors start slamming, actors shriek at fever pitch and someone takes off their clothes. It couldn’t be anything else.
It’s a particularly British contrivance, coupled with some frenzied Feydeau versions from romantic France. Often it falls flat in the likes of New York, where farce on Broadway tends to equal disaster at the box office.
Take Boeing Boeing, for example. The successful British comedy about a randy American businessman who juggles three air hostesses in a handsome Parisian flat made pots of money in London, where it ran for seven years. Crossing the Atlantic, it flopped in New York, closing after a slim 23 performances. Over and done with, Boeing Boeing crashed and burned. Who’d have thought 40 years later it would be the comic hit of the season, winning a coveted Tony Award as Best Revival of a Play?
Well, Boeing Boeing has slipped under the radar and opened a triumphant run at Stage West Dinner Theatre in Mississauga. Starring TV personality Peter Scolari, it’s a slam-bang affair. Directed within an inch of its life, it’s so stuffed with comic business, it sometimes threatens to crash from the sheer weight of its excess baggage.
Bernard, played with pop-eyed enthusiasm by ebullient Michael Lamport, juggles affairs with three sexy fly girls who buzz in and out of his Paris flat like butterflies in heat.
Before long, supersonic jets take flight, schedules change and bubbly little Gabriella from Italy is in the extra bedroom; Gretchen, the saucy strudel from Germany, is in the master suite; and slap-happy Gloria from New York is waiting in the hall. How Bernard resolves this dating dilemma forms the central axis on which Boeing Boeing turns.
Add Susan Henley’s gallic housekeeper Bertha, a crusty factotum who keeps both hall and kitchen doors swinging, and you have the play’s basis for liftoff. Throw in mild-mannered Wisconsin buddy Robert, who suddenly develops a yen for strudel, cannelloni and New York clam chowder, and things roar off the runaway.
On Broadway, I didn’t much care for Mark Rylance’s mannered, obnoxious performance as Robert, and Matthew Warchus’s sappy direction allowed the play to wander on too long. At Stage West, things are in better hands.
Director Jim Warren keeps the play cracking at a quick canter across Samantha Burson’s attractive set. With its Andy Warhol paintings and Murano glass sconces, it looks like a place a ritzy businessman might inhabit. Scolari gives an energetic performance as the hapless Robert, suddenly discovering himself loose in a harem of fly-girl delights where it’s always coffee, tea or me.
The sexy fly girls are terrific. Ellen Dubin does just about everything you could do with legs that go on ’til Sunday.
Cara Leslie is delicious as Gretchen. Her bedroom entrance in a see-through nightie with feathered puffs rampant at her considerable bust is hilarious. And don’t count out Jane Spence’s exotic Gabriella. She can bang a door with the best of them.
Of course it’s smirky and silly. It’s a farce. And there are creaks and groans here and there. No matter, this Stage West cast happily helps us over the rough spots with over-the-top energy, and this Boeing Boeing takes glorious flight.
Gary Smith has written on theatre and dance for The Hamilton Spectator for more than 25 years.
Flying ‘The Friendly Skies ’… ‘United’
Review by Terry Gaisin
Scolari & Lamport with critic-Terry
Sept. 27th ‘08
Playwright Mark Camoletti made the Guinness Book of Records with his 1962 play BOEING, BOEING becoming the longest-running French play – ever. This farcical comedy can still elicit guffaws as was demonstrated last night where it opened an eight-week run at Mississauga’s STAGE WEST.
‘Trigamy’ is not one of the advanced mathematical fields… rather- its bigamy plus one!
Bernard, a successful Parisian architect has three fiancées all of who are ‘stew’s, but with different airlines. By an assiduous analysis of flight schedules, and a supportive housekeeper; each one thinks they are ‘the one’! On being introduced to Gloria with the endless legs; Gabriella with the stupefying face; and Gretchen’s sexuality & passion; I kept thinking of ‘My Science Project’ wherein the protagonist melds epitomes of the same inherent qualities. The arrival of Bernard’s school chum from the Midwestern U.S. both aids and exacerbates the problems that occur as a consequence of the improved travel speeds resulting from a new jet going into service.
The adroit and skillful manipulator of not one but three beauties is portrayed by Michael Lamport as a rather ordinary charmer. His open-faced demeanor is convincing and sincere. But the apartment setting with six door telegraphs that we’re in for an in-one,-out-another charade a la Norm Foster.
Lamport manages the transformation from smooth operator to paranoid temerity with amazing credibility. He’s funny without being slapstick. His unwitting accomplice is superbly portrayed by Peter Scolari who goes from awestruck distain for his old friend’s lifestyle to reluctant co-conspirator. Both actors manifest the ability to appear as ‘everyman’. Certainly this is a credit to the canny directorial skill of Jim Warren.
The TWA stewardess is played by a statuesque Ellen Dubin who quickly demonstrates confidence, strong will and independence. Towering over both males certainly underlines this effect.
The Alitalia hostess played by Jane Spence is stereotypically Italian; from look; mannerism and enthusiasm. We first saw her perform back in ’02, her thespian growth and the sincerity of her characterization is remarkable.
The Lufthansa crewmember is Cara Leslie and she brings all the Germanic stereotypes to Gretchen. There is the guttural English; the interrogational discoursing and accusatory mannerisms but fortunately – no goose-stepping or ‘Ve haf vays’! My husband fell immediately in lust; but would definitely give her plenty of ‘Lebensraum’. This is another O.A.R. cap-feather to go along with her ‘Hope Cladwell’ in URINETOWN.
The show-stealing belongs to Bertha the maid. No ubiquitous frilly miniskirt & apron, Susan Henley is supportive but definitely not terribly impressed by her boss. Think of the “2 ½ Men” character with the same name, played by Conchita Ferrell! Changing menus, varying photographs, and much sheet-washing coupled with modifying facial expression & warmth towards each different girl is a challenge and she rises to the occasion. There is one bit where she physically demonstrates the farting results from too much sauerkraut that is so funny that her lines are drowned out by the audience’s laughter.
The set is attractive & realistic; the costumes sexy & superb and the pace never slackens. The play may be somewhat dated (no on-line computer scheduling) but is still a hoot. Great direction and terrific acting, coupled with a perfect venue for such a performance make this an attractive evening out. STAGE WEST is famous for head-chef John Sirota’s extremely varied buffet; the serve staff under the management of supervisor Brian is prompt, attentive and friendly. So, make it a full evening; show, dinner and an overnighter!