Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Boeing Boeing

Take a slap-dash comedy from the 1960's and throw in a few stars and hope for the best. The show is straight off the West End where it enjoyed a rave reviews. Admittedly, I saw the show in previews - so there is some work to be done. The show is too long, for one. The entire show should have been like two short physical comedy skits as was mastered by Carol Burnett and Co. All throughout the show, I was picturing her and her cohorts on stage doing the roles. It would have been a coup to get her back on stage in the leading role.

Christine Baranski, Bradley Wittford, and Mark Rylance (transfer from the London run) take the helm supported by the 3 stereotypical 1960's air stewardesses- one Italian - Gina Gershon (Alitalia) one German - Mary McCormack (Luftansa), and one American - Kathryn Hahn (TWA). All around, the performances were top notch - it's just the run time that brought them down. We get the idea Matthew Warchus. The jokes will go over better and the laughs will get bigger. Stop reminding us over and over that the air time-tables are the key to mastering the comings and goings of Bernard's 3 - yes 3 - fiances. After about 20 minutes - we get the setup. Stop dragging it out. Keep it moving. Ms. Baranski and her "burst on stage, deliver line, exit stage" will benefit the most. Keep it snappy and under 100 minutes (two acts or one - i think it could work with both) and more people will walk out laughing instead of saying "I thought it was never going to end". You've got a captive audience who is ready (and very willing) to laugh. Maximize the result.
All around, I think this one will stay for a while. It's very funny, it's got great physical comedy, and great actors pushing the limits on stage to deliver the laughs. Just take a look at the original cast in the movie - Jerry Lewis, Tony Curtis, and Thelma Ritter.