Boeing-Boeing

This was the official website for the 2008 Broadway show, Boeing-Boeing. The content below is from outside sources. 

First Preview: Apr 19, 2008 | Total Previews: 17
Opening Date: May 04, 2008
Closing Date: Jan 04, 2009 | Total Performances:   279

Boeing-Boeing by Marc Camoletti. Translated by Beverley Cross & Francis Evans. Directed by Matthew Warchus. Scenic and costume Design by Rob Howell. Lighting design by Hugh Vanstone. Original music by Claire van Kampen. Sound design b Simon Baker. Cast: Christine Baranski, Mark Rylance, Bradley Whitford, also starring Gina Gershon, Kathryn Hahn, Mary McCormack.

Theatre: Longacre Theatre
220 West 48th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue
Schedule: Tuesday at 7 pm, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 pm, Wedensday and Saturday at 2 pm, Sunday at 3 pm.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours 40 minutes, including one 15 minute intermission.
Audience: Recommended for 10 + Children under the age of 4 are not permitted in the theatre.
Ticket price: Orchestra and Mezzanine (Rows A-E) $99.50, Mezzanine (Rows F-J) $76.50, Balcony (Rows A-D) $51.50, Balcony (Rows E-G) $26.50
Premium Seat Prices: $176.50, Saturday evening $251.50.
Tickets: Telecharge

***

What the press had to say.....

 

"It could have been a tired dollop of '60s camp in the wrong hands, but director Matthew Warchus and his sparkling cast fine-tune this fluffy French farce with clockwork precision, and the result is a riot." & "It vanished after only 23 performances on Broadway in 1965...But if the paroxysms of laughter gripping the Longacre audience offer any gauge, this incarnation should stick around considerably longer.

David Rooney

Variety

**

"Like Wilderï’masterpiece this production levitates low burlesque into high comedy. In a generous act of alchemy Mr. Warchus and company have distilled pure pleasure from an impure source."

Ben Brantley
New York Times

What the press had to say.....

 

"It could have been a tired dollop of '60s camp in the wrong hands, but director Matthew Warchus and his sparkling cast fine-tune this fluffy French farce with clockwork precision, and the result is a riot." & "It vanished after only 23 performances on Broadway in 1965...But if the paroxysms of laughter gripping the Longacre audience offer any gauge, this incarnation should stick around considerably longer.

David Rooney

Variety

 

>"Like Wilderï’masterpiece this production levitates low burlesque into high comedy. In a generous act of alchemy Mr. Warchus and company have distilled pure pleasure from an impure source."
Ben Brantley
New York Times

 

"It's nothing but blue skies and mile-high hilarity at "Boeing-Boeing." & "This production from London is a breath of fresh laughing gas."

Joe Dziemianowicz

New York Daily News

 

"As repetitious and as tedious as a flea circus."

Clive Barnes

New York Post

 

"The door-slamming, furniture-jumping, fall-on-the-floor doings of farcical comedy are not to all tastes, of course, so anyone disliking this theatrical genre can skip "Boeing-Boeing." Everybody else better tape their ribs to prevent fractures from laughing so furiously at the madness galloping across the stage."

Michael Sommers

Star-Ledger

 

"Broadway has been blessed with an inordinate number of tours de force by male funnymen this season: In addition to Mr. Butz (Is He Dead?) there's Nathan Lane in "November" and Charles Edwards in "The 39 Steps." But while all four of these performers outshine their material, Mr. Rylance shines the brightest � and not just because of the relative dimness of his surroundings. " & "Gold is gold, and if slogging through the likes of "Boeing-Boeing" is what it takes to mine it, so be it. Isn't making the best out of untenable circumstances what farce is all about?

Eric Grode

NY Sun

 

"Seventy minutes had passed before his production finally lifted off with anything resembling comic energy. Then the first-act curtain fell and the tedious spring-winding started up all over again."

Jeremy Gerard

Bloomberg

 

"If you want to laugh for roughly two hours and 35 minutes, hustle over to Broadway's Longacre Theatre to see a period farce called "Boeing-Boeing." I did something I hadn't done in a theater for at least a year. I laughed, I really laughed. And its laughs sneak up on you, in the way only genuine laughs can." & "It's a classic Broadway cure for whatever may ail you."

Jacques Le Sourd

Journal News

 

"The actors, huffing and puffing and door-slamming their way through the long evening, give it their all, and they get their share of laughs. But the show, directed by Matthew Warchus, seemed as tedious as it was amusing."

Robert Feldberg

The Record

What the press had to say.....

 

"It could have been a tired dollop of '60s camp in the wrong hands, but director Matthew Warchus and his sparkling cast fine-tune this fluffy French farce with clockwork precision, and the result is a riot." & "It vanished after only 23 performances on Broadway in 1965...But if the paroxysms of laughter gripping the Longacre audience offer any gauge, this incarnation should stick around considerably longer.

David Rooney

Variety

**

>"Like Wilderï’masterpiece this production levitates low burlesque into high comedy. In a generous act of alchemy Mr. Warchus and company have distilled pure pleasure from an impure source."
Ben Brantley
New York Times

**

"It's nothing but blue skies and mile-high hilarity at "Boeing-Boeing." & "This production from London is a breath of fresh laughing gas."

Joe Dziemianowicz

New York Daily News

**

"As repetitious and as tedious as a flea circus."

Clive Barnes

New York Post

**

"The door-slamming, furniture-jumping, fall-on-the-floor doings of farcical comedy are not to all tastes, of course, so anyone disliking this theatrical genre can skip "Boeing-Boeing." Everybody else better tape their ribs to prevent fractures from laughing so furiously at the madness galloping across the stage."

Michael Sommers

Star-Ledger

**

"Broadway has been blessed with an inordinate number of tours de force by male funnymen this season: In addition to Mr. Butz (Is He Dead?) there's Nathan Lane in "November" and Charles Edwards in "The 39 Steps." But while all four of these performers outshine their material, Mr. Rylance shines the brightest � and not just because of the relative dimness of his surroundings. " & "Gold is gold, and if slogging through the likes of "Boeing-Boeing" is what it takes to mine it, so be it. Isn't making the best out of untenable circumstances what farce is all about?

Eric Grode

NY Sun

**

"Seventy minutes had passed before his production finally lifted off with anything resembling comic energy. Then the first-act curtain fell and the tedious spring-winding started up all over again."

Jeremy Gerard

Bloomberg

**

"If you want to laugh for roughly two hours and 35 minutes, hustle over to Broadway's Longacre Theatre to see a period farce called "Boeing-Boeing." I did something I hadn't done in a theater for at least a year. I laughed, I really laughed. And its laughs sneak up on you, in the way only genuine laughs can." & "It's a classic Broadway cure for whatever may ail you."

Jacques Le Sourd

Journal News

**

"The actors, huffing and puffing and door-slamming their way through the long evening, give it their all, and they get their share of laughs. But the show, directed by Matthew Warchus, seemed as tedious as it was amusing."

Robert Feldberg

The Record

**

"It's nothing but blue skies and mile-high hilarity at "Boeing-Boeing." & "This production from London is a breath of fresh laughing gas."

Joe Dziemianowicz

New York Daily News

**

"As repetitious and as tedious as a flea circus."

Clive Barnes

New York Post

**

"The door-slamming, furniture-jumping, fall-on-the-floor doings of farcical comedy are not to all tastes, of course, so anyone disliking this theatrical genre can skip "Boeing-Boeing." Everybody else better tape their ribs to prevent fractures from laughing so furiously at the madness galloping across the stage."

Michael Sommers

Star-Ledger

**

"Broadway has been blessed with an inordinate number of tours de force by male funnymen this season: In addition to Mr. Butz (Is He Dead?) there's Nathan Lane in "November" and Charles Edwards in "The 39 Steps." But while all four of these performers outshine their material, Mr. Rylance shines the brightest � and not just because of the relative dimness of his surroundings. " & "Gold is gold, and if slogging through the likes of "Boeing-Boeing" is what it takes to mine it, so be it. Isn't making the best out of untenable circumstances what farce is all about?

Eric Grode

NY Sun

**

"Seventy minutes had passed before his production finally lifted off with anything resembling comic energy. Then the first-act curtain fell and the tedious spring-winding started up all over again."

Jeremy Gerard

Bloomberg

**

"If you want to laugh for roughly two hours and 35 minutes, hustle over to Broadway's Longacre Theatre to see a period farce called "Boeing-Boeing." I did something I hadn't done in a theater for at least a year. I laughed, I really laughed. And its laughs sneak up on you, in the way only genuine laughs can." & "It's a classic Broadway cure for whatever may ail you."

Jacques Le Sourd

Journal News

**

"The actors, huffing and puffing and door-slamming their way through the long evening, give it their all, and they get their share of laughs. But the show, directed by Matthew Warchus, seemed as tedious as it was amusing."

Robert Feldberg

The Record

*****

MAY 5, 2008

Up, Up and Away (and Watch Those Swinging Doors)
BOEING-BOEING  NYT Critics’ Pick  Broadway, Comedy
By BEN BRANTLEY

“Boeing Boeing,” a creaky French comedy that has been given the makeover of the season by the director Matthew Warchus, has no earthly right to be as funny as it is. I mean, think about it. A loud slapstick romp about a roué with three mistresses, born from the middle-class side of the Smirky ’60s, that might as well be called “Too Many Stewardesses” (though “Boeing Boeing” is winceable enough)? Ugh.

New Yorkers turned up their noses the first time this Marc Camoletti farce came to town in 1965, and it lasted on Broadway for a mere 23 performances. Never mind that they loved it in London, where it ran for seven years. The British have an annoying weakness for such things. You know, shows with titles like “Run for Your Wife.”

The production that opened Sunday night at the newly refurbished Longacre Theater is tricked out in thoroughly Mod ’60s style, but this latest edition of a play named for an aircraft soars right out of its time zone and into some unpolluted stratosphere of classic physical comedy. Propelled by the same gusty spirit that animated Commedia dell’Arte and the silent films of Keaton, Chaplin and Lloyd, the happy cast led by Mark Rylance, Bradley Whitford and Christine Baranski may be earthy, but it’s seldom earthbound.

Here’s the setup (and bear with me). Bernard (Mr. Whitford), an American businessman living in Paris, is juggling love affairs with three air hostesses (as they were called back in the day), who touch down briefly but lovingly in his apartment between flights. There’s Gloria (Kathryn Hahn), the American; Gabriella (Gina Gershon), the Italian; and Gretchen (Mary McCormack), the German.

Thanks to Bernard’s keen study of flight schedules and the efficiency of his grumbling Gallic housekeeper, Berthe (Ms. Baranski), his three mistresses have no inkling of one another’s existences. But collision is clearly in the cards. And on hand, to survey and sink into the resulting complications, is the unworldly Robert (Mr. Rylance, the British actor who starred in the London revival, in a priceless deadpan performance), Bernard’s boyhood friend, newly arrived from Wisconsin and as green as a Granny Smith apple.

Most people, on reading this synopsis, would see only period prurience, caked with unappetizing mold. (It feels appropriate that a film version starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis was publicized as “the big comedy of nineteen-sexty-sex.”) But Mr. Warchus, a British director known here for his lucid Broadway productions of Yasmina Reza’s “Art” and Sam Shepard’s “True West,” has X-ray vision that zeroes in on the bone structure of a play.

“Boeing Boeing,” it turns out, has great bones. “It’s geometrical,” says Bernard, explaining his impeccably organized love life to Robert. “So precise as to be almost poetic.” The same might be said of Mr. Warchus’s mise-en-scène, which keeps us perpetually tuned into the idea of a geometry and its attendant equations.

That Euclidean spirit is translated most visibly into Rob Howell’s inspired set and costumes. Bernard’s high-ceilinged apartment has curved walls and many doors that you know will all be swinging wildly before the evening ends. Suspended from the ceiling are three decorative globes, each in a different color to match the uniform (and crucially, the flight bag) of each of Bernard’s lovers. And that’s just the most obvious manifestation of the precise color coding. (Love the red, yellow and blue roses.)

This bright, formulaically arranged environment matches the play’s tidy structure, a reassuring framework for all the untidy behavior that occurs within it. (That’s partly why you don’t feel that unpleasant “oh no” anxiety that is often induced by farce.) It allows the cast members to cut loose like preschoolers on the playground of their dreams. And like fond parents, we can enjoy their shenanigans while knowing that the slides and swing sets are too well-made for anyone to get seriously hurt.

Their performances are among the most one-dimensional and stereotyped that have ever shown up on a Broadway stage — and that’s a large part of their roaring success. Gloria, Gabriella and Gretchen bring to mind fantasy drawings from a vintage Esquire or Playboy for a portfolio of international dream girls.

And Ms. Hahn, Ms. Gershon and Ms. McCormack broadly but artfully exploit the most shameless nationalist clichés: the take-charge, health-obsessed American; the sentimental, lusty Italian; and, most hilariously, the dominating but thin-skinned German.

Ms. Baranski’s Berthe is a chic, black-clad philosopher, a French existentialist maid who loves nothing more than to complain. As for the guys, no matter how much they believe they’re running the show, they’re really uncomprehending men in a world where estrogen is always stronger than testosterone. (This version, by the way, turns Bernard and Robert from Frenchmen into Americans in Paris.)

At the performance I saw, the ensemble began a tad shakily, and I wondered if I had been a fool to enjoy the play as much as I did when I saw it in London last year. But as the show progressed, everyone shed self-consciousness and found a shared rhythm. The second act was unconditional bliss.

“Boeing Boeing,” translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans, is not a play you quote from. It’s not what people say but how they move, from Bernard’s dancing hipster’s walk (which owes a debt to Steve Martin) to Ms. McCormack’s glorious Olympian strut and wide-legged, take-no-prisoners stance. Mr. Rylance, whom I know mostly as a Shakespearean actor (and as the first artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London), here exercises a supremely graceful clumsiness and hang-dog cheer that evokes the great Buster Keaton.

Though the performers have specific stage presence to burn, their characters are ultimately as abstract as figures in a ballet. The chemistry they generate among one another is less erotic than kinetic, despite scenes that involve blows to the groin, horizontal wrestling and tonsil hockey. (Watch Mr. Rylance probe his mouth to see if his tongue is still in place after receiving a high-suction kiss.)

You see, the appeal of “Boeing Boeing” is the very opposite of what you might expect. It’s not smutty at all. It’s deliciously, deliriously innocent. I haven’t felt so much like a child, while watching a sex comedy, since I was, well, a very young child, taken by his mother to the Billy Wilder movie “Some Like It Hot.”

Like Wilder’s masterpiece this production levitates low burlesque into high comedy. In a generous act of alchemy Mr. Warchus and company have distilled pure pleasure from an impure source.

BOEING-BOEING

By Marc Camoletti, translated from the French by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans; directed by Matthew Warchus; sets and costumes by Rob Howell; lighting by Hugh Vanstone; music by Claire Van Kampen; sound by Simon Baker; stage manager, William Joseph Barnes. Presented by Sonia Friedman Productions, Bob Boyett, Act Productions, Matthew Byam Shaw, Robert G. Bartner, the Weinstein Company, Susan Gallin/Mary Lu Roffe, Broadway Across America, Tulchin/Jenkins/DSM and the Araca Group.

 

 

 

*****

 

May 4, 2008

Boeing-Boeing
Theatre Review by Matthew Murray
www.talkinbroadway.com/

IMAGE: show-shot-broadway-review.jpg

Attention, unattached men: There is hope. You don't need six-pack abs, an amazing job, or even an unsullied hairline to snag that beautiful girl you've been eyeing. Flab and a complete absence of self-esteem can be potent aphrodisiacs, as is proven by the patron saint of those heretofore undesirable qualities who's cavorting about the state of the Longacre and getting more action than the hottest Hollywood star.

His name is Robert Lambert, and as played by the sterling Mark Rylance in the iffy new revival of Marc Camoletti's Boeing-Boeing, he dispenses gallons of sparkling reassurance to world's schlubbiest singles. It might just be the ordinary guy's fantasy that a Wisconsin-born-and-bred loser could transform from an underdog into a raging pit bull, shedding a shoulder-rolling slouch in favor of the saucier swivel of bumps and grinds inspired by the three stunning women he meets. But in Rylance's hands, the dream is as convincing as it is delightful.

You believe with him, as you might not when you look in the mirror, that a man who's barely employed, has no prospects or fashion sense, and is never the subject of even a woman's second or third glance can morph into a border-hopping lothario. Robert is, above all, smart, and it's a short leap from devising a dozen different excuses to keep one suspicious fiancée out of the room in which another is hiding to (literally) charming the pants off yet another he's attempting to divert for, well, similar reasons.

Because of Rylance's gold-buffed improvisational attitude, this master juggler's talents aren't revealed until the moment they're required. Rylance so embraces Robert's desperation, not merely to survive the one libidinous day in which he's trapped but to thrive on the many curvaceous opportunities it presents, that there are times you can't help but wonder whether there any boundaries this newly born superman won't cross in pursuit of fulfillment, love, and sex (though not necessarily in that order).

With the rest of Matthew Warchus's production, which uses Beverley Cross and Francis Evans's adaptation, you'll wonder why anyone else is even there. The farther Rylance gets from center stage, the closer the show comes to stalling in midair.

Like most farces, this one is fragile and difficult, subject to the subtle whims of timing and intention that everyday comedy may occasionally shun - a lark for the audience, a vulture for the actors. Because most of the rest of the cast is committed to things other than the specific problems facing their characters, they seem inhabitants of isolated pockets of hilarity rather than the steady stream of pseudo-violent absurdity it can be at its best.

In fact, this is one of the rare cases where the setup stomps the execution. The life of American businessman Bernard (Bradley Whitford) is one of orchestrated chaos, derived from rotating his three serious girlfriends in and out of his luxurious Paris apartment (the gleaming-cream work of Rob Howell). Because they're flight attendants for competing airlines, all he must do is plan his life around their immutable schedules and he can do whatever - and whomever - he chooses when the numbers are in perfect alignment.

His semi-willing accomplice is his catty maid Berthe (Christine Baranski), who strips the apartment of telltale traces between visits. And both do a good job of it - each of the cheerful American Gloria (Kathryn Hahn), the doting Italian Gabriella (Gina Gershon), and the dominating German Gretchen (Mary McCormack) believes she's the only woman in Bernard's life.

Warchus applies gentle heat to the first act's simmering pandemonium, building to giddy heights the suspense about how the women's departure and arrival schedules will tangle themselves to bring about what Bernard considers impossible: all three in his apartment at the same time. But when they collide there, with Bernard so flustered and overparted that it falls to the milquetoast Robert to pick up the pieces, all but Rylance's portion of that promise is left unfulfilled.

Gershon and McCormack are obsessed with their vocal performances, differentiating themselves with Saturday Night Live accents that alone aren't enough to establish the urgent personalities each woman needs. McCormack's guttural bellows, while unquestionably funny, lack the substantive undercurrents of laissez-faire romanticism that would conceivably send her from Bernard's arms into Robert's. Gershon is somewhat more natural, but doesn't capture the settle-down spirit that should power Gabrielle's choices.

Looking like a stripper slumming as a secretary, Baranski is all wiry neuroticism and not the stern taskmaster needed to force Bernard into line; her only modest projection and French-fried accent make her as difficult to hear as she is to understand, let alone comprehend. Whitford is the human equivalent of a live wire, flailing about and shrieking as though to exist is to surge, but channels little of the on-the-precipice excitement that should both elevate Bernard and give him so very far to fall. It's impossible to imagine their two energies coexisting long enough to concoct Bernard's daring scheme, let alone last five minutes without strangling each other.

Hahn's deceptive sunniness grants Gloria a few extra layers of richness that locate her much closer to Rylance's camp. A tightly coiffed example of the with-it ditz, she's as unafraid as Robert to shed her preconceptions, and Hahn makes her every bit as unpredictable. The scenes in which Robert and Gloria vamp each other, with looks, hands, or mouths, are the most charged and rewarding of the evening. Hahn's wordless flash of a towel and Rylance's priceless reaction to it is as close as this Boeing-Boeing gets to a comic one-two punch.

But if you must settle for a single uppercut, Rylance is the knock-out. Bernard's explanation of his complicated four-way arrangement illuminates Robert's shadowy attic, and watching Rylance spend over two hours clearing out the cobwebs from his unlived celebrates the kind of honest joy found in far too few of this season's Broadway comedies.

Robert may have no confidence in his ability to get what he wants, but he's unafraid to go after it, at any personal cost - a reminder that a night of a thousand kisses begins with a single peck on the cheek. Only when the wallflower joins the dance and learns he can't stop grooving to the music does he - and, for that matter, Boeing-Boeing - truly take off

BoeingOnBroadway.com