Greater Lewisville Community Theatre
Director – Sharon Veselic
Lighting Designer – Scott Davis
Set Designer – George Redford
Costume Designer – Jen Peace
Gabriella – Noelle Fabian
Robert – Jeff McGee
Berthe – Olivia Norine
Bernard – Ken Orman
Gloria – Jen Peace
Gretchen – Colleen Reed
Photo credit: Michael Foster
Reviewed Performance 4/25/2014
Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
The most performed French play in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, has safely landed at Greater Lewisville Community Theatre with spectacular results. Boeing Boeing is a classic farce about a bachelor, living in Paris in the early 1960s, who has three fiancées. All of whom work for different airlines. Using flight schedules to keep his life in balance, the bachelor hides the women from each other and has, what he thinks is, the perfect life. Unfortunately, circumstances lead all three women being in his apartment at the same time, and hilarity ensues as he and a visiting friend try to keep the three women from meeting. GLCT's production employs great acting, wonderful directing, and a stellar set design to bring this time-honored play to life.
The set is a beautifully constructed, split-level apartment living room. Off-white wall to wall carpeting, a well-placed chair rail for accent on dual-tone green walls, white railing, shelving, and furniture all combine to create a wonderful, comfortable home on stage. With many doorways to many rooms, used exquisitely in the blocking of the play to heighten tension, the set is perfect for this production.
Lighting for Boeing Boeing is not the most difficult Scott Davis design I've seen but it is, as always, appropriate for the play. The most interesting element is the light from the bedrooms shining on the open doors. It is soft, blue, and ethereal, like a reading lamp from another world.
The ladies of Boeing Boeing are nicely color coordinated. The “primary” ladies are dressed in primary colors; Gloria in red, Gabriella in blue, and Gretchen in yellow, while Berthe is kept in black, gray, and white. The men too are dressed according to their role in the story. Bernard is in stylish gray pants and tie with a white shirt, while Robert, the simple man from Wisconsin, is dressed conservatively in earth tones. Great attention to detail is paid in the costuming of the play with the different styles for the stewardess’ uniforms. Jen Peace has done an incredible job.
Speaking of Ms. Peace, she is wonderful as the American fiancée, Gloria. As a headstrong girl from New York City, Gloria knows what she wants and is certain to get it. Peace is clear, confident and concise in her voice and movements. She is silly as she gets aroused by Robert's lips as they pronounce “It's not impossible,” writhing in her seat and slowly crawling on the couch toward him. Her practical manner as Gloria makes Peace a great fit for this part.
Accents pose a performance problem for the three actresses who must execute one in the play. Noelle Fabian’s is the best delivered, but it's only convincing enough to exist in a play, where audiences are already willing to suspend disbelief. Olivia Norine's French and Colleen Reed's German accents sometimes come out interchangeable or indistinguishable. The accents are not performance ruining but they are mildly distracting.
Doing an imperfect Sophia Loren impression will not work for most people, but for Noelle Fabian it works just fine. Gabriella is a hot-blooded Italian woman and Fabian brings her to life fabulously. She yells, screams, and whines without being annoying, and shows great timing, appearing around a corner to yell at Bernard, and garnering a laugh from the audience.
Colleen Reed is the German Gretchen in the trio of fiancées. She acts the part well but the character is weakly developed. As opposed to the domineering German typically portrayed in plays and movies of the time, Reed's character is sweet and susceptible to Robert's suggestions. She shows great acting range, going from a yelling rage to despair, flopping around throughout the show.
Olivia Norine, as Berthe, has the funniest role, and also the best reactions to the shocking situation of the story. Berthe is quick with the quips, doesn't put up with nonsense from anybody, and is integral to Bernard's lifestyle. Norine portrays Berthe's barbed nature expertly, muttering under her breath just loud enough for the audience to catch, or casting a pointed glare at someone whose intentions are not pure. Her reaction upon learning of the inevitable but disastrous situation of two ladies in the apartment at the same time is priceless. Olivia Norine's performance is the glue that holds this production together.
Robert is the unfortunate soul caught in the middle of this brewing storm. He is Bernard's friend from “school,” who shows up in Paris hoping to meet a special lady. From Wisconsin, Robert holds to a more traditional, conservative lifestyle than Bernard's crazy three-woman scheme. Jeff McGee is wonderful in the role. He offers great support to whoever he's with on stage, using excellent line reads and facial expressions. His many attempts to wordlessly convey information through head nods and posture are some of the funniest moments of the play.
Finally, the playboy Bernard is played strikingly by Ken Orman. Orman is totally suited for the suave bachelor who has it all together. He also delightfully plays a man who is slowly losing his mind as his well-constructed life slowly falls apart around him. The best part of his performance is watching the wild flailing along with funny poses and facial twists he employs as something else goes wrong for Bernard.
Boeing Boeing at Greater Lewisville Community Theatre is excellent. It takes some time in the first act to get going, but once it does the laughs don't stop. The cast is top notch and should not be missed.
Greater Lewisville Community Theatre
160 W Main Street
Lewisville, Texas 75057
Runs through May 11th
Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 3:00 pm
Tickets are $17.00 and $15.00 for seniors 65+ and those 18 and under.
For tickets and information, go to http://www.glct.org or call their box office at 972-221-SHOW (7469).