With its feverish pace and complex choreography, Maui OnStage’s “Boeing Boeing” may be physical comedy at its best.
Things definitely get physical in this production of Marc Camoletti’s classic farce about Bernard, an American architect living in 1960s Paris, who has three secret fiancees, all air hostesses from three different airlines and three different countries. He manages to keep “one up, one down and one pending” through a series of complex timetables and with assistance from his ever-so-weary French housekeeper, Berthe. But things get bumpy when a new, super-high-speed Boeing jet and a nasty storm brewing over the North Atlantic throw his “beautifully organized” scheme out of whack.
“Boeing Boeing” gains altitude in the first act and goes full speed just before intermission. From there, it’s a wild ride — with plenty of twists, turns and slamming doors — that will leave audience members guessing how it will all play out.
Collectively, the six-member cast is a comic tour de force, masterfully delivering the play’s rapid-succession, innuendo-laden dialogue with razor-sharp comedic timing. Brian Connolly plays the commitment-phobic Bernard and completely sells as the smooth-talking Lothario who morphs into a whimpering nervous wreck. Kalani Whitford is spectacularly funny and owns every scene he’s in as Robert, Bernard’s guileless college buddy from Wisconsin who unwittingly becomes a co-conspirator. Jamie Wilcox is perfectly cast as the acerbic Berthe and delivers some of the biggest laughs of the night. Erin McCargar is irresistibly funny as Gloria, the perky and seductive American who has a few tricks up her sleeve. Sara Jelley shines as the tempestuous Italian Gabriella and imbues the character with a blend of humor and heart. As the formidable fraulein Gretchen, Lin McEwan delivers a knockout performance (as well as a convincing German accent) and demonstrates a genuine flair for physical comedy.
Stage lighting and music add clever touches to the production — particularly when Berthe has a moment alone onstage and tidies up Bernard’s living room — and the functional set and retro furniture designed by Ally Shore is both eye-catching and nostalgia-inducing. The same can be said for the handiwork of costume designer Vickie Nelson, whose 1960s-inspired costumes are as colorful as the characters who wear them.
Ably directed by Michael Pulliam, “Boeing Boeing” will appeal to anyone looking for a laugh-out-loud “comedy of circumstance” that is funny, quick-witted and compulsively entertaining.
* Fasten your seatbelts and catch Maui Onstage’s production of the 2008 Tony Award-winning revival of “Boeing Boeing” through Oct. 16 at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets range from $20 to $40 per person. Due to the adult nature of this play, “Boeing Boeing” may not be appropriate for children. For more information or to purchase tickets for any Iao Theater event, call (808) 242-6969 or visit www.mauionstage.com.