OFFBEAT: Drury Lane 'Boeing Boeing' a bumpy flight stage comedy

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-06-24T00:00:00Z 2013-06-24T17:55:07Z OFFBEAT: Drury Lane 'Boeing Boeing' a bumpy flight stage comedyBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

As I've confessed in this space previously, I'm not an easy sell-out to make laugh.

I'm sure there's not even a certain formula for funny that always strikes a comedy chord with me. Sometimes, it can be a silly sight gag that brings chuckles, and other times, well written clever lines or an at-that-moment comeback response or gesture such as an eye roll, can do the trick.

So the fact that I didn't find too much funny about Drury Lane Theatre's new production of "Boeing-Boeing," playing through Aug. 4, could say more about my tickle-the-funny-bone taste, rather than the stage experience.

But while the assembled cast offers no shortage of talent and comedic timing, the two and a half hour story and material the actors and actresses are provided to showcase comes across as dated, often dumb and contrived.

The production, written by French playwright Marc Camoletti and adapted by Beverley Cross, originally opened in London in 1962, followed by the Broadway premiere in 1965. In 1991, "Boeing-Boeing" was included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most performed French play throughout the world. There has since been a London revival in 2007, a successful seven-year run in the West End, and a Tony Award-winning Broadway revival in 2008, which was adapted by Francis Evans.

So, this isn't a new work. But even though our story remains set in Paris in the 1960s, today, these comedy and situations do not flow to offer the laugh impact as intended.

Bernard is the main character, a slick playboy type played with vim and vigor by Stef Tovar. He's wooing three flight attendant fiancées and balancing them all like plates in the air, with the help of his reluctant housekeeper, Berta, played by the always funny Nora Dunn, who unfortunately, just doesn't have enough to do to garner more deserved stage time. Since every rousing Romeo needs a second banana in a comedy, this tale offers Robert from Wisconsin, who drops by Paris to check on his buddy. Robert is played by Daniel Cantor, with a characterization that comes off as just too goofy to absorb or care about.

The three in-the-clouds beauties are Katherine Keberlein as fierce German Gretchen, Dina DiCostanzo as Italian volcano Gabriella and Kara Zediker as giddy New York sexpot Gloria. This trio nails their every scene and are to be congratulated on keeping all of their assorted accents intact for every exchange.

Dennis Zacek directs the tiresome goings-ons, which never end in a satisfying climax for anyone, including the audience.

The set designed by Sam Ball is beautiful and interesting, which is a good thing since the entire story takes place in the main character's posh Paris apartment, boasting lots of doors that lead no-where, much like this faded farce of yesteryear.

Tickets are $30 to $74 with the latter higher priced options including lunch and dinner packages. FYI: (630) 530-0111 or

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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