The first show of Tacoma Little Theatreís 2015-2016 season is Boeing Boeing.
The main character is Bernard (Greg Lucas), a successful architect living in Paris. He has three fiancťes, all stewardesses: Gloria (Ana Bury), American, TWA; Gretchen (Jana Gueck), German, Lufthansa; and Gabriella (Holly Rose), Italian, Air Italia.
The critical factor in Bernardís life is the timetable, what time each of his lovelies comes into Paris and, equally important, when each leaves. This is his opportunity for sex; however, itís also among the things that he canít control.
The fly in the ointment is Robert (Robert Alan Barnett), a school friend from their early lives in a tiny Wisconsin town. (Iíve been reading Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis, so Palookaville is stuck in my mind.)
Robert threw over his Wisconsin life and came to Paris to start anew with his cosmopolitan friend. He brings two trunks, at least two suitcases and more assorted things.
A fish out of water? A square in a social circle? A Palooka in Paris?
The opening joke is Robert ringing the doorbell of Bernardís spacious four bedroom apartment. When the ever-complaining maid Berthe (Brynne Garman) opens the door, she doesnít want Robert to complicate her life; nevertheless, he brings each trunk and suitcase in one by one.
Berthe ruthlessly lets him drag his baggage around the apartment to all four bedroom doors before she allows him to enter the last room, of course.
Berthe is like a cat playing with a bag of catnip . . . batting it to and fro to see where it goes.
The mix up really begins when Boeing 737s began international flights. Then the all-important timetable is screwed all to hockey pucks with all three women coming in at the same time. The second act is when all three women are in residence and the frantic shouting between Bernard and Robert really happens, and it is, in fact, the funnier act.
Director Curt Hetherington kept the pace quick, although I didnít understand all the yelling that went on whenever Robert and Bernard were together. They seemed to be shouting ALL THE TIME! It was annoying, but it made more sense in the second act.
Michelle Gravesí costumes made the women much easier to identify each woman and their airlines: Gloria in red from TWA; Gretchen in yellow from Lufthansa; and Gabriella in blue from Air Italia, and of course Berthe in her black dress and apron.
I do want to add that the air stewardesses all kept their accents faithfully - not much of a stretch for Anna Bury as the American Gloria.
The stewardesses were all cute and fetching.
The menís clothing looked dated for 1967, when the 737s started international flights. I would have expected Bernard to be much better dressed a la mode of í67 (with perhaps a nod toward Playboy Magazine fashion and sophistication). However, Roberts brown suit was spot on for a Midwestern lower management type.
In the 1965 movie version of this French sex comedy-farce, Bernard was played by Tony Curtis and Robert was played by Jerry Lewis. The French people must have just loved the Jerry Lewis romp.
The set by Jeffery Weaver, Resident Properties Manager, seemed to be a lot like what Iíd have expected for the 1960s. Flocked red patterned wallpaper, shiny blue sunburst clock, severe blue couch, white tables and white chairs plus accessories made the room appropriate.
The house was quite full, especially for a Sunday evening and the last day of the Western Washington Fair.
Boeing Boeing runs through October 4. For tickets or information, call 253-272-2281.
Coming up next is, Rabbit Hole, a 2007 Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Becca and Howie Corbett are a happily married couple whose perfect world is forever changed when their young son, Danny, is killed by a car. Painful, poignant, and often funny, Beccaís experiences lead her to find solace in a mysterious relationship with a troubled young comic-book artist, Jason - the teenage driver of the car that killed Danny.
You'll find ticket information online at TacomaLittleTheatre.com.