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Come Fly with Me to Boeing, Boeing at The Little Theatre

Jordan Wright
May 5, 2014
Special to The Alexandria Times 

Joshua Rich (Bernard) and Kathleen Doyle (Gloria) - Photo credit Doug Olmsted

Joshua Rich (Bernard) and Kathleen Doyle (Gloria) – Photo credit Doug Olmsted

Boeing Boeing is a riotous tale about Bernard, an American architect whose Paris flat has become a way station for his “international harem” of flight attendants or, as they were once called, “stewardesses”.  That may seem a slight distinction but I assure you it is not.  When it was written in 1962 by French Playwright Marc Camoletti flight attendants were young women, no men allowed.  Hired on the basis of their looks and the ability to speak at least two languages, they were monitored under a Draconian demerit system that kept them accountable for having picture perfect makeup and hair and model-like figures.  It was considered a very glamorous profession for a young (oh yes, they aged them out in those days) woman.

They wore stunning uniforms created by top fashion designers like Emilio Pucci and Oleg Cassini, and turned heads in their miniskirts wherever they went.  Men went wild trying to get a date with these beauties, who were urged to stay single.  Jean Schlichting and Kit Sibley’s fabulous early “Mod” look reflect the designers of the period.

Gabriela Coro (Gabriela), Kathleen Doyle (Gloria) and Jennifer Patton (Gretchen) - Photo credit  Doug Olmsted

Gabriela Coro (Gabriela), Kathleen Doyle (Gloria) and Jennifer Patton (Gretchen) – Photo credit Doug Olmsted

Bernard (Joshua Rich), a rich playboy who sports loud plaid pants, has three adorable “stews” on a string.  He keeps them from running into each other with the aid of his trusty International Flight Timetable and his ditzy maid Bertha (Margaret Bush) whose job it is to rotate out their photos in anticipation of their arrival.  When Bernard’s old schoolmate Robert (Patrick M. Doneghy) arrives from Wisconsin, he convinces him that having three fiancées at the same time is the ideal bachelor life.

Patrick Doneghy (Robert) and Margaret Bush (Bertha) - Photo credit Doug Olmsted

Patrick Doneghy (Robert) and Margaret Bush (Bertha) – Photo credit Doug Olmsted

Gretchen (Jennifer Patton) works for Lufthansa, Gabriela (Gabriela Coro) for Alitalia, and Gloria (Kathleen Doyle) for American Airlines and never the three shall meet – – at least that’s Bernard’s scheme.  In the beginning all goes smoothly.  The women come and go according to their rigid flight schedules.  But as aviation advances and the planes get faster, Bernard is in for a bumpy ride as the women’s layovers coincide.  John Downing and Bill Glikbarg’s cleverly designed six-door set with a charming terrace looking out over the lights of Paris, portends the shenanigans to come.

In the meantime the beleaguered Bertha, who has perfected of the art of the stink eye, “This is NO life for a maid!” she howls, must keep up the charade with a constant change of cuisine (frankfurters and sauerkraut for Gretchen) to appease the revolving door of Bernard’s paramours.

Notable performances by Patrick Doneghy who is absolutely superb as Robert (Rethink Jerry Lewis as a black comedian) and whose exquisite comic timing and zany mugging make this farce a total hoot; Jennifer Patton, as the feisty fräulein; and Gabriela Coro as the fiery signorina.  Kudos to Director Roland Branford Gomez for a rollicking romp.

Through May 24th at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street. For tickets and information call the box office at 703 683-0496 or visit www.thelittletheatre.com

Kathleen Doyle (Gloria), Jennifer Patton (Gretchen) and Gabriela Coro (Gabriela - Photo credit Doug Olmsted

Kathleen Doyle (Gloria), Jennifer Patton (Gretchen) and Gabriela Coro (Gabriela – Photo credit Doug Olmsted

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