by Sally Mitani
Remember that old late-night TV ad that claimed some washed-up yodeler named Slim Whitman had sold more albums than the Beatles? Well, sit down for a similar crazy-sounding entertainment fact. The 1991 Guinness Book of World Records listed Boeing-Boeing, now playing at the Purple Rose, as the most-performed French play in history. Yep, more than Tartuffe, more than Cyrano, more than the frickin' Count of Monte Cristo. Even with a several-century head start, Moliere didn't stand a chance against this powerhouse by Marc Camoletti, which opened in 1960 in Paris and spread like impetigo in a heat wave.
French? With a title like Boeing-Boeing? Yes, but it translates fine because it's not about France at all. It's about that peculiar era of international playboys, ice buckets, white wall-to-wall, and slippery dressing gowns. The premise in Boeing-Boeing is that three airline stewardesses are all engaged to a slick Casanova named Bernard, whom they visit on Paris stopovers. With the aid of careful scheduling and a hyper-manic maid (played by Michelle Mountain), each never suspects the existence of the other two.
Shortly into Act I, all three show up at the same time. Fortunately Bernard has one of those apartments always occupied by people in bedroom farces, equipped with a handful of extra bedrooms, apparently never before in use, and--sacre bleu!--are they soundproofed? How else could he frantically shunt girls into rooms, with each never noticing the ruckus going on in the living room?
The women in this production are bursting with sex appeal--their craft, of which they're justly proud, is being able to land any man, under any circumstance, and they're helped along by marvelous costuming. Who can resist the juxtaposition of uniforms and slinky lingerie? The men (there are two) are saddled with the problem endemic to Sixties drama. Marooned in a decade that testosterone forgot, they're hardly worth the trouble the women take to land them.
Doors slam as three stewardesses (and the maid) strut their period stuff with
Arts and Entertainment reviews and news.>> Blogs