Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir? (or, my night at Boeing Boeing)
By all rights, Boeing Boeing should be terrible. It's an extremely dated French play from the 1960's about a man with three "air hostess" fiancees. Sounds bad, right? Kinda creaky? Ridiculous? Predictable?
Well it may be all of those things, but it's also a hoot. Staged within an inch of its life, it may as well be a ballet, with incredibly precise movements and impeccable timing. The performers are clearly having a ball, with some truly priceless over the top characters (or really, caricatures). At the center of the storm, Mark Rylance bobs along as the play's straight man, happily bewildered in an apartment full of color coded stewardesses (the design for the show is wonderful, with strong colors and a spot on '60's feel). Rylance's performance is sheer joy, every scream, every jump, every innocent come-on is a treat.
I was also enchanted by Mary McCormack's German Air Hostess. Severe and deep throated, a perfect counter balance to the more traditionally sexy Italian and American stereotypes, she stole every scene she was in, writhing about on the floor in confused passion (about her convictions). It's easy to see why she was singled out among the three women for a Tony nomination.
As for the other two above the title performers, Christine Baranski was delightful as the epitome of a French Maid. Bradley Whitford played well in his large group scenes and really came alive in moments of panic (and in a farce, there are a lot of those), but I found him a little flat in his early expositional scenes (but perhaps anyone would seem flat next to Mark Rylance).
Overall, we had a wonderful time. However - chose your seats carefully. The theatre is badly laid out and my mom and I stared into the large heads of the people in front of us for much of the evening. Do not sit in the mezzanine without a front row seat (I've been there before and I seem to remember the balcony being better). Enjoy!