Boeing Boeing is Fantastic, Flying Fun: Review

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Boeing Boeing is the latest show at The PAC, put on by Le Moyne’s Visual and Performing Arts Department and the Boot & Buskin Theatre Club. A classic 1960s farce by Marc Camoletti, the show has been delighting audiences for over 50 years, both onstage and over the course of five film adaptations. Director Matt Chiorini brings the vibrant show to life at Le Moyne and the result is thrilling. As a farce, the show features an outrageous, over-the-top style of comedy which forces it’s charmingly flawed characters to grapple with increasingly ridiculous situations and a chaotic plot that doesn’t slow down for a single minute.

When the play begins, the scene is already set for disaster. Playboy Bernard Lawrence (Frederick Pienkoski ‘18) has it all: a spacious flat in Paris, a successful career, and a gorgeous fiancee…or three. Bernard has been able to maintain engagements to three beautiful women without them suspecting a thing, thanks to the fact that all three are air hostesses for different airlines. As one fiancé takes off, another is already in the air and the third is just returning home to Bernard, ensuring that none of them are ever in the same place at the same time. It’s the perfect setup, until faster Boeing jets throw off Bernard’s carefully cultivated schedule.

The play opens with Bernard seeing off his American fiancé Gloria (Rachel Crumley ‘18) and preparing for the arrival of his Italian fiancé Gabriella (Marisa Valent ‘17). Things get a little complicated with the arrival of Bernard’s old friend Robert (Tom Vazquez ‘17) who has come to France to visit family and find a fiancé of his own.

With Gloria gone and Gabriella settling in, a curveball is thrown by the German fiancé Gretchen (Kelsey Rich ‘18), who arrives much earlier than expected. Robert and Bernard struggle to keep the two women away from each other, involving lots of slamming doors, far fetched excuses, and heaps of luck. Vazquez and Pienkoski’s chemistry brings an explosive energy to a show already overflowing with enthusiasm. Shortly after Gretchen’s arrival, she and Robert begin an affair which requires Robert to cover up even more scandal. The audience follows everything breathless from laughter and frustration alike when every interaction leads to our heroes digging themselves deeper into their own graves.

The show really picks up in act two, when all three women are in the flat at the same time. The situation spirals further and further out of control until Robert and Bernard are left to be tossed around like rag dolls by the zany, vivacious women they’ve involved themselves with. This is where Crumley, Valent, and Rich truly shine as they reign supreme over the chaos.

The show’s hidden gem, however, comes in the form of freshman Samantha Overton, who plays Bernard’s overworked live-in maid Berthe, and makes sure her insufferable employer can pull off his schemes by personalizing every single visit. Overton’s dry, sassy attitude grounds the play in reality, whether she’s insulting Bernard’s stupidity or burning a hole into an air hostess with her stink eye.

While being almost a sensory overload, Boeing Boeing is non-stop, perfectly timed fun from start to finish. Expectations are always high going into Boot & Buskin shows and they never disappoint. The show will leave you gasping for breath and gleefully awaiting whatever disaster waits around the corner. When one door closes, another one opens and what emerges is always shocking.