Hop on board at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage and land in Paris in the Swinging ’60s. Meet Bernardo, a playboy who hosts his three fiancées in his upscale apartment. That’s right — three fiancées, all airline hostesses (now called flight attendants) from different countries. Torch Theater has staged a rollicking production of Marc Camoletti’s 1960 bedroom farce “Boeing Boeing.”
This naughty comedy ran for years in London but flopped on Broadway in 1965. However, the 2007 London West End revival transferred to Broadway the next year, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
Bernardo (Sam Landman) strings along three women — one Italian, one American, one German — making sure their paths never cross. By consulting arrival/departure timetables, he juggles their schedules so that when one is up in the air or somewhere abroad, the one in Paris can stay over. Unfortunately, the overworked maid, Berthe (Mo Perry), is expected to prepare cuisine from each of the fiancées’ native countries and guarantee that photographs of the one currently visiting are accurately displayed.
Things unravel when Bernardo’s old buddy from Wisconsin, Robert (Zach Curtis), pops in unexpectedly and insists that he stay with him.
Predictably, Fate decrees that flight schedules change and the women end up at the apartment at overlapping times. Caught in the middle, Berthe and Robert enable Bernardo’s deception by shuffling the hostesses to the bathroom and bedrooms quickly enough so one doesn’t see the other. The sturdy doors on Eli Schlatter’s functional set get plenty of use.
A splendidly suave Landman elegantly contrasts a charmingly awkward Curtis.
In an inspired performance, Perry is boldly unafraid of suggestive buffoonery. What she does with a feather duster and a banana is eyebrow-raising indeed.
Craig Johnson has directed the stewardess characters to relish their stereotypical roles, aided by Katherine Kohl’s vibrant costumes.
Stacia Rice plays the Italian Gabriella as a spitfire fabulously reminiscent of Anna Magnani. She makes it defiantly clear that she wants to get some sleep and get married. Rachel Finch is irrepressibly perky as American Gloria, although her accent leans more British than American.
Sara Richardson as German Gretchen, who takes everything literally, embodies the blonde bombshell type of ‘60s films and magazines. Her interplay with Curtis is uproarious. For example, when Robert is agonizing with painful indigestion from eating too much sauerkraut, she says he is being disrespectful to Germany.
Katherine Horowitz’s “easy-listening” instrumental sound design captures the era.
Camoletti’s flamboyant style, masterfully timed by Johnson’s actors, recalls the films of Blake Edwards and theatricality of playwright Joe Orton. This is fluffy entertainment done delightfully well.
John Townsend is a Minneapolis writer.