Fun French farce ‘Boeing Boeing’ flies by fast at Reston Community Players

Reston Community Players (RCP) recently opened the madcap comedy Boeing Boeing at CenterStage in Reston. The farce, written by French playwright Marc Camoletti, originally debuted in 1960 and was translated into English by Beverley Cross.

The show (which is in the Guinness Book of Records as the most-performed French play worldwide) is set in Paris in the 1960s. Bachelor Bernard is a rapscallion engaged to three stewardesses from three different airlines. His carefully crafted schedule has worked like a well-oiled machine, but things go awry when his old friend Robert unexpectedly comes into town and flight schedules shift due to weather and a new, faster Boeing engine, resulting in all three fiancées being in town at the same time.

Justin Meyer as Bernard, Dan Dymond as Robert, and Kate Bierly as Gretchen in ‘Boeing Boeing.’ Photo by Heather Regan.

The set, designed by Maggie Modig, is the open living room of Bernard’s flat, with multiple doors leading to various bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen. There is a good amount of slapstick, including many close entrances and exits of the ladies, who at one point are all in the flat at the same time. Director Adam Konowe has done an excellent job timing these near-misses to optimize the tension and hilarity of the show.

Dan Dymond as Robert and Alexa Yarboro as Gloria in ‘Boeing Boeing.’ Photo by Heather Regan.

Justin Meyer plays the duplicitous bachelor Bernard with a subtle French accent and a cadence reminiscent of Stewie from Family Guy. He exudes confidence and calm, that is until his carefully coordinated life falls apart. There is no real villain but Bernard is close enough, and watching his gradual fall from arrogant womanizer to hysterical, desperate fiend caught in a trap of his own making is highly entertaining.

Dan Dymond is the more reserved and shy schoolmate, Robert. Dymond plays the naive man out of his depths with the idea of having a relationship with three women at once — but quickly leans into the idea of adopting a lifestyle similar to Bernard’s. Dymond is very likable, and his physicality and facial expressions bring Dick Van Dyke to mind.

Kate Keifer plays Bernard’s maid Berthe, whose accent is a bit over the top but her physical comedy is total perfection. Berthe has the unfortunate job of keeping up Bernard’s ruse, which includes switching out the ladies’ pictures and a pillow themed with each of their countries of origin, and maintaining a menu suited to which of the fiancées is visiting. Keifer is constantly in a manic state as she sneaks, crawls, and jumps over the couch to conceal or swap the pillows.

Kate Keifer as Berthe and Kate Bierly as Gretchen in ‘Boeing Boeing.’ Photo by Heather Regan.

The three brides-to-be are American Gloria (Alexa Yarboro), German Gretchen (Kate Bierly), and Italian Gabriella (Lori Brooks). These unfortunate ladies are pulled and pushed around constantly by Robert and Bernard in a well-choreographed dance to keep them all just out of sight of each other.

RCPs Boeing Boeing is a fun ride with a good ensemble and excellent direction — not to mention the lovely, classically styled stewardess uniforms in each of the primary colors (costume design by Lisa Leary).

The entire show takes place over the course of one day, and the scenes are fast-paced so the show flies by quickly. There are plenty of laughs in the playful comedy as everything that can go wrong does go wrong — and the audience can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the mayhem.

Running Time: Approximately two hours 30 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.

Boeing Boeing runs through January 29, 2023, presented by Reston Community Players performing at CenterStage in Reston Community Center located at 2310 Colts Neck Road Reston, VA. Tickets ($25–$30) are available for purchase in person at the Community Center, by calling the box office at (703) 476-4500, or online.

The Boeing Boeing playbill is online here.

COVID Safety: Per Fairfax County regulations, masks are encouraged but not required for attendance.

Cast
Bernard: Justin Meyer, Robert: Dan Dymond, Berthe: Kate Keifer, Gloria: Alexa Yarboro, Gretchen: Kate Bierly, Gabriella: Lori Brooks

Production Staff
Director: Adam Konowe; Assistant Director: Lori Brooks; Producer:  Richard Durkin; Stage Manager: Eileen Mullee; Assistant Stage Manager: Patrick Hammes; Master Electricians: Dan Widerski & Richard Durkin; Technical Directors: Dan Widerski & Sara Birkhead; Master Carpenter: John Turner; Set Construction: Sara Birkhead, RB Bhandari, Richard Durkin, Tom Geuting, Peter Gobeille, Patrick Hammes, David Holt, Anna Mintz, Tim Skjerseth, John Turner, Dan Widerski; Set Painters: Judy Whelihan, Cathy Zimmermann; Light Board Operators: Scott Fisk, David Katz; Sound Board Operator: Bill Chrapcynski; Seamstress: Mary Louise Tunget; Costume Assistant: Jackie Tidball; Properties Acquisition: Mary Jo Ford & Joey Olson; Props Runners: Carol Watson & David Holt; Photographer: Heather Regan; Voice/Accent Coach: Tel Monks; Running Crew: RB Bhandari, Richard Durkin, David Katz,Patrick Hammes, David Holt, Alex Parish

Design Team
Intimacy Choreographer: Ian Claar; Lighting Designer: Ian Claar; Costume Designer: Lisa Leary; Hair & Makeup Designer: Nour Bahri; Properties Designer: Mary Jo Ford; Set Designer / Scenic Artist: Maggie Modig; Set Decoration Design: Liz Mykietyn; Sound Designer: Bill Chrapcynski