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L.A. Beat

Boeing Boeing is a flight you can’t miss

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Don’t miss this flight. Playgoers of Lethbridge’s production of the 1962 Marc Camoletti comedy Boeing Boeing takes off for the last time tonight at the Yates Theatre. Flight time is 8 p.m.Garrett Bishoff and Josh Hammerstedt are in Boeing Boeing. Photo By Richard Amery
It is a hilarious show that follows the misadventures of the cunning French bachelor Bernard, played well by Garrett Bishoff, who is juggling three airborne air hostess fiancées flying in and out on three different airlines.
 He thinks he’s got it all figured out down to the second, thanks to airline timetables which tell him exactly when his paramours are going to be flying in and out and the help and organization of his much harassed and put upon maid Berthe, played beautifully by Playgoers veteran Shelly David.

 If you want  God (and the audience) to laugh, tell him your plans. That is exactly what happens pretty much immediately as Bernard explains his complex life to his bewildered old school friend Robert, played by Josh Hammerstedt who visits Bernard in Paris in hopes of finding a fiancée of his own.

And then again when all three of his fiancées , the American, Gloria (Emilie Kidd,)  German, Gretchen (Cassandra Watson) and  Italian (Monique Prusky) all inform him their schedules are going to change as their airlines adopt new Boeing jets. So they can all spend more time with him. That sounds wonderful in principle as long as they don’t find out about each other — an ever-present danger during this two hour flight.

Robert does his best to help the ever more rattled Bernard, but complicates things further by falling for Gretchen and once again when Gloria seduces Robert — sort of.
The cast is wonderful to watch. Garrett Bishoff is hilarious as Bernard becomes ever more manic and Monique Prusky is a pleasure to watch as the sultry, passionate Gabriella in her big, black bouffant wig. But Playgoers veterans Shelly David and Josh Hammerstedt steal the show as the two straight characters who do what they can to keep Bernard’s chaotic life from blowing up in his face.

 They are a beautiful foil to the extreme craziness of the Bernard and his girls.
Newcomer Cassandra Watson also chews up the scenery in her scenes as the innocent, näive yet hot tempered Gretchen as she becomes conflicted over her love for Bernard and budding love/ loathing for Robert.

Emilie Kidd, speaking in a Brooklyn accent, has a great , and amazingly prescient proto-feminist speech about how the woman has the power in the home and is always right which must have been ground-breaking in 1962. She plays it straight here while seducing Robert.

All of the cast perform in very convincing accents (except for Hammerstedt whose character doesn’t need one), so much so that it can be difficult to understand each and every word. But the humour is front and centre and the jokes shine.

 It is a comedy, so despite the chaos, all’s well that ends well and everyone lives happily ever after — more or less. You have to see it to appreciate it. The fun is definitely in the ride and actually trying to figure out who ends up with who.
 So don’t miss the flight. Boeing Boeing takes off at 8 p.m. tonight at the Yates Theatre. Tickets are $25.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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