Living in Melbourne’s West, I relish the chance to get ‘around town’ and visit local theatre productions which are outside my local area. Recently, my partner and I visited The Basin Theatre – which is a sweet theatre set off a very tree lined road. The Basin Theatre itself is thoroughly charming, with warm welcomes and plenty of sofa seating in the foyer to enjoy pre show and at interval. Better yet, tickets include pre and post show (and interval) refreshments which was a nice touch. There’s also the opportunity to meet cast members in the foyer post show so if you visit, do ensure you stick around for that!
The production for the current season is French playright Marco Camoletti’s comical farce “Boeing Boeing”, which is set in the 1960’s. Best of all, this is a ‘door play’ (one of my favourite kinds of theatrical setups), with all kinds of characters making appearances (and reappearances) via the doors throughout the show. The superb cast of characters is comprised of Bernard (played by Gordon Boyd) – who is a bachelor and the central character in the story, Bernard’s enthusiastic French friend Robert (played by Bruce Hardie), Bernard’s sassy housekeeper Bertha (played by Cate Dowling-Trask) and of course, Bernard’s three love interests – the air hostesses. Gretchen (played by Charlie Jean) is a ‘no nonsense’ dominant German, Gabriella (played by Nataleigh Maree) is a ‘classic’ Italian -complete with many hand gestures – and Gloria (played by Peta Owen) is an affable American. The synopsis of the show is fairly simple, in that Bernard juggles all his love interests via their flight schedules, ensuring that none overlap when they each land in Paris to spend time with their special Bernard. None are aware of each other’s existence, until Bernard’s plan slowly starts to unravel with storms, flight cancellations and the introduction of faster jumbo jets.
This show is very entertaining via its dialogue and comedic timing – everyone seems to have witty one liners that are on point (and there are even a few sneaky double entendres that made me laugh even harder!) Ripples of audience laughter were a constant throughout the show. Keep an eye out for Gretchen (played by Charlie Jean) in particular who is very enthusiastic and comical in her role, and helps to keep the laughs soaring in the show with her movements and facial expressions. Gretchen has a dazzling smile and just radiates love and happiness throughout her scenes and to the audience. She was a joy to watch and simply shone! Another personal highlight was Frenchman Robert (played by Bruce Hardie) who had an accent that never wavered and was often literally caught between characters in some hilarious scenarios. It was very entertaining to see Bernard (played by Gordon Boyd) sweat when he realised there were flaws in his plan and he had to work even harder to keep his plan ‘in the air’ (so to speak) – especially when his air hostess lovers each had their own opinions and weren’t afraid to voice them. I felt like it was a trip to another time as the same plan / concept just wouldn’t work in 2019 with the nature of the airline industry and aviation technology. The set dressing and music playing before the show all helped to transport the audience back to the 1960’s (in addition to the cast outfits!)
This production runs for approx 2 hours (plus interval) however time does indeed fly when you’re having fun and we just wanted to stay longer as the show was a fun, lighthearted night out. Thoroughly enjoyable.
VERDICT: Fasten your seatbelts and stow away your troubles for an entertaining journey with engaging characters, featuring plenty of comedic highs. They say “If it ain’t Boeing I’m not going” so make “Boeing, Boeing” your next destination for comedy!