Boeing Boeing (Review)

Energetic, laugh-out-loud farce shines with spirit

click to enlarge Boeing, Boeing
Boeing, Boeing

Critic's Pick

Boeing Boeing, a bedroom farce by Marc Camoletti, enjoyed a seven-year run in London’s West End after its 1962 premiere. A revival in 2008 won a Tony Award in New York City. In the hands of The Carnegie Theatre Series and CCM Drama, it is easy to see why. This winning partnership brings an abundance of talent, youth, energy and physical comedy to the Carnegie’s Otto M. Budig Theater.

Under the direction of Brant Russell, the newest member of the drama faculty at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music (and supported by the always excellent producing talent of series founder and creator Joshua Steele, the Carnegie managing director for theater), Boeing Boeing is fresh and hilarious, a sheer delight. This is Russell’s directorial debut in Cincinnati. As director of Kenyon Playwright’s Conference and a former staffer at Chicago Dramatist, Writers’ Theater and Steppenwolf, he is a thrilling addition to our artistic community.

Bernard (Spencer House) is a bachelor in Paris who lives under the disdainful watch of Bertha (Hannah Halvorson), his recalcitrant French maid. Bernard is engaged to three different flight attendants, kept secret from one another so long as the planes run on time. When Bernard’s buddy Robert (Shaun Sutton) comes to visit and the timetables run amok, there aren’t enough rooms in the apartment to keep American Gloria (Sarah Vargo), Italian Gabriella (Fabiola Rodriguez) and German Gretchen (Megan Marshal) from running into one another.

It starts with a spirited pre-show, complete with juggling French “maids” and time to admire Christina Chester’s set and the generally gorgeous Carnegie theater space. From there, the cast of CCM juniors and seniors starts strong and finishes stronger. Shaun Sutton’s Robert and Megan Marshall’s Gretchen have perhaps the most to work with and they deliver mightily. They are laugh-out-loud funny.

Boeing Boeing with CCM Drama is more proof that Joshua Steele knows the formula for making partnerships work while delivering artistic excellence.

BOEING BOEING, produced by CCM Drama at the Carnegie in Covington, continues through Nov. 24.

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