Walpole Footlighter's opening show of their 90th season is "Boeing Boeing." This 1960's French farce adapted for the English speaking stage and revived in 2008 features self-styled Parisian Lothario Bernard, who has Italian, German and American fiances, each an beautiful airline hostess with frequent ''layovers.'' He keeps "one up, one down and one pending" until unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris and Bernard's apartment at the same time. Add Bernard's best friend and his loyal maid to the mix and you have the necessary ingredients for the fantastic comic romp that ensues.
Director Wendy Stuart casts six topnotch performers in these madcap roles and gives them hilarious shtick and fantastic pacing in all their scenes. She blocks them wonderfully on this gorgeous Paris apartment set by Dan Sheehan. Playing the lothario, Bernard is Andrew Shiels. He delivers his enormous amount of dialogue splendidly with all the other characters. Some of his funniest moments are trying to explain his way out of who is who when the gals finally meet, He also tries to enlist his best friend to help him as he keeps running his harried maid crazy with the three girls coming and going at wacky times. Will Bernard be able to worm his way out of this situation or will the girls triumph over him? This delightful farce will keep you in stitches as the crazy shenanigans occur.
Peter McElhinney has many funny one liners as Robert, Bernard's best friend. He steals many scenes, playing this role brilliantly. Is Robert there to really help Bernard? Or is he there to fall in love with all the women and want them for himself? Peter has many comic moments but the two standout ones are his reactions to Emily's towel scene and when Gretchen yells at him. Peter and Andrew have a scene when they are on the floor and look like they are going at it when the maid walks in on them. Another scene stealer is Barbara Schapiro as Bertha, the wise-cracking, smart-ass French maid. She is hilarious as she runs roughshod over Bernard, exasperated at his duplicitous behavior and finally wins her way at last. Barbara always delivers strong performance and this is another feather in her cap.
Each of the airline hostesses are different from each other and fabulously portrayed. The all-American girl, Gloria is wonderfully played by pretty brunette, Emily Loflin. She may appear naive but she might have a trick or two up her sleeve. Gloria puts ketchup on her pancakes and whip cream on her sauerkraut.Emily has a hilarious scene while she is wrapped up in a towel that has to be seen to be believed as well as a When Harry Met Sally moment with Robert, making him say" that isn't possible" over and over. The hot tempered Italian hostess, Gabriella is excellently played by gorgeous brunette, Claire Lukaczyn. She has many funny one liners and has an extremely funny temper tantrum scene that will leave you in stitches. Claire's Italian accent is excellent, too. The powerhouse German hostess, Gretchen is marvelously played by blonde, statuesque, Denise Feeney. She commands the stage in all her scenes. Her German accent is flawless and she scares the crap out of the audience as well as all the other characters, too. She is a hoot as she slaps Peter around the stage.There are many twists and turns in this merry farce as the performers entrance you with their different accents and fiery temperaments. So for a fun filled farce, be sure to catch "Boeing Boeing" in Walpole before the plane departs the runway. What a terrific way to start to their new season and congratulations on your 90th Anniversary season. It is my tenth year of reviewing shows and Footlighters and this is among the top shows I've seen there.