From time to time, I enjoy attending performances in intimate settings, free from droves of patrons amassing in a sizable theater, a lobby filled with kitschy souvenirs and a deep line to the women’s bathroom.
CPCC’s Pease Auditorium, with seating for only 400, is exactly where Marc Camoletti’s “Boeing-Boeing” should be housed. Set designer Jennifer O’Kelly wisely uses every inch of the small stage in creating the Parisian flat near Orly Airport where bachelor Bernard (Christian Casper) lives. There is even a charming little terrace complete with greenery, seating and a view. Within a day’s time, the thrice-engaged bachelor deceives his fiancee stewardesses from one end of this pad to the other.
Bernard, who plans never to marry any of the lovelorn women, is extremely satisfied with his scheming ways and delighted with the meticulous black book he totes around. It has each of the girls’ flight schedules down to the minute, which suits his motto: “It all boils down to juggling timetables and a reliable maid who never forgets to change the photographs.”
Flying on plane No. 1 is Gloria (Caroline Renfro), the American from San Francisco who adores Bernard but wants a husband right now – and absolutely nothing will stand in the way of her mission. Gabriella (Amanda Becker), an Italian beauty, emerges from plane No. 2 and is truly in love with Bernard, who she thinks is a truthful man protecting his heart and putting off marriage because of his insecurities. Plane No. 3 brings Gretchen (Kristin Jann-Fischer), a German who loves frankfurters and sauerkraut but is a bit confused about her feelings for Bernard.
To make matters more hairy, elderly housekeeper Bertha (Polly Adkins) has to keep straight all the shenanigans that ensue when each woman is grounded in Paris at the same time, in the same place, wanting the same man.
Bernard’s lonely American friend, Robert (Brandon James), is thrown into the drama when he unexpectedly arrives at his friend’s doorstep, en route to an uncle’s home in a nearby city. Robert, who has hands like an octopus but is wet behind the ears, helps keep Bernard from crashing and burning while fanning his own flames of love.
This show debuted in Paris in 1960 and is clearly a favorite among baby boomers. While I giggled watching the classic farce unfold, some other people were doubled over and could hardly catch their breath. The rickety saloonlike doors leading to the kitchen were a bit distracting, and the desk drawer that housed each woman’s photo didn’t hang on too well, but the approximately two-hour trip to Paris was ultimately quite smooth.
CPCC Summer Theatre does Marc Camoletti’s farce about a commitment-phobic Parisian, who successfully juggles three air hostesses until an American pal’s arrival throws things into chaos.
WHEN: Through July 12 at 7 p.m. Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Pease Auditorium, 1201 Elizabeth Ave.
TICKETS: $18-$22 ($10 ages 15 and under).