When an experienced cast takes on a farce and are clicking on all cylinders, then you have a soaring comedy. That happened Wednesday night when River City Repertory Theatre’s production of “Boeing Boeing” came in with a triumphant landing.
The Marc Camoletti play opened at Bossier City’s East Bank Theatre and will run through Sunday.
Director Patric McWilliams and his six-member cast have yanked most of the stops that can be pulled and blithely headed over the top, leaving theatergoers laughing … hard.
Going over the top has to be controlled mania to make it work, and that is what this cast does. Director McWilliams has them fine tuned with great timing and punchy deliveries. Endless stage business keeps “Boeing Boeing” rolling along.
The setup is a young man (Bernard) in Paris juggling three fiancees, all airline stewardesses. His foolproof plan hinges on airline schedules. He keeps track of the flights in a ledger, so that none of the three women will be in Paris at the same time. His put-upon maid (Berthe) is in on the plan and not too happy about it. Into this arrangement comes Robert, Bernard’s visiting friend from the States, Wisconsin to be exact. While Bernard is slick and knowing, Robert is sweetly naïve and unaware.
Even the best of scheduling suddenly can go awry. Yes, that happens, and, as they say, all hell breaks loose. The result here is hilarious from spoken dialogue to sight gags.
Blayne Weaver slips into Bernard like a hand into a glove, turning franticness into an art form as his face keeps registering a desperateness that continually escalates. Seemingly effortless, the actor does all that with impressive aplomb. He is a natural on the stage.
Jason Guy aids and abets in a clever performance as the befuddled Robert, who is going from a fairly innocent fellow to one who is slowly and surely getting his eyes opened. Guy’s physical comedy is wonderfully on target as Robert’s own franticness takes over.
Peggy Byers’ Berthe wryly observes the goings on and then starts losing her grip as she wanders into scenes that take her aback. It’s a role of nifty little moments, and the actress nicely savors them. Byers can do a lot with a look.
And then there are the stewardesses. Wow! They are Anna Maria Sparke as Gloria, the American; Cara Johnston as Gabriella, the Italian; and Susan Kirton as Gretchen, the German.
Sparke’s Gloria is fresh and determined as she, in her mind, has pretty much laid out what she expects from Bernard if not, perhaps, from herself. She’s a likeable sort who you might think would be right at home giving you a wink that, well, might be a come hither one. The actress makes straightforwardness fun to watch.
Johnston’s Gabriella is fiery, jealous and really funny as she can change moods and directions within a sentence. It’s a delightful performance as the character mispronounces English or puts a hand on a hip or lets her eyes do the talking.
Kirton’s Gretchen is a no-nonsense woman who seems to be storming around and taking charge even when she is standing still. Wildly passionate, the character will use whatever furniture is available to throw herself into or loll upon to express her feelings. The actresses jumps into this role with the proper abandon.
Stewardesses take a bow.
Director McWilliams does a great job of impersonating a traffic cop as this farce takes off with characters going in and out of doors, lies and made-up stories tumbling over each other and situations arising with the frequency of a clock’s second hand.
All is played out on a solid Jim Hayes set of Bernard’s apartment. There are plenty of doors and just enough furniture to allow a lot of action in and around it.
RCRT continues to amaze in making not a great deal of stage space seem spacious and deep. Kudos for that.
Treat yourself and take a flight with “Boeing Boeing.”
East Bank Theatre
February 12-13-14 at 7:30 pm February 15 at 3:00 pm
For reservations call 318-868-5888
For online ticket sales: www.brownpapertickets.com
For additional information visit: www.rivercityrep.org
Membership in THE LEAGUE is being offered to individuals and couples interested in supporting the theatre company. The mission of The League is to provide support for the theatre and develop a core of volunteers to assist in projects and fundraising events essential for the company’s future.
Membership is open to the general public. Annual membership opportunities:
FAN COUPLE $40.00
STAR SINGLE $125.00
STAR COUPLE $200.00
1 STAR/ 1 FAN $150.00
Interested? Join or send a donation (tax deductible) to:
P.O. BOX 5391
SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA 71135
Please contact Carol LaBorde at 318-797-6615
for additional information.
The Shreveport Regional Arts Council recently announced that River City Repertory Theatre, along with 12 other regional arts organizations, will be receiving funding from a federal stimulus package through the National Endowment for the Arts for the restoration and preservation of jobs through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
This program is part of President Obama's effort to stimulate the economy and preserve jobs. Funds from this grant will allow jobs and salaries to be maintained which may have been lost due to the recent economic downturn. This is the first NEA grant that has been awarded to River City Rep.
River City Repertory Theatre is financially supported by The Community Foundation of Shreveport/ Bossier-Carolyn W. & Charles T. Beaird Donor Advised Fund. The funding provides support for the theatre's purchasing of technical equipment.
As River City Rep moves toward having a permanent
home in downtown Shreveport, the theatre company is actively pursuing purchasing the technical equipment the company will need for future productions in its new space.
River City Repertory Theatre is the recipient of two Louisiana Division of the Arts/Decentralized Arts Funding grants for the 2009-10 theatre season. The funds from the LDOA/DAF grants were used to produce MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS which was a participant in the EYE-20 CREATIVE CORRIDOR’s “ TRIUMPH OVER TRAGEDY” project and will be additionally used throughout the season to financially assist artistic salaries and benefits.
Louisiana Division of the Arts/Decentralized Arts Funding grants provide operating funds for non-profit arts organizations that are seeking to expand operations and also to produce specific projects. The state grants provide support to arts organizations that have made an impact locally, statewide, regionally and nationally or internationally.