Sunday, May 4, 2008



By Marc Camoletti, Translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans. Directed by Matthew Warchus. (CLOSED)

Boeing-Boeing gets no middle-ground reviews; critics either loved or hated it. Most of them agree on one thing: Boeing-Boeing—the French sex farce about a rake juggling three airline stewardesses and the country bumpkin who comes to visit him in Paris—doesn't have a great script. It's a bit dated, a bit tired, and more than a bit shallow. What they disagree about is whether or not Matthew Warchus' production lifts it up to the heavens on giddy farcical wings or crashes it into the ground. NOTE: Every review, positive or negative, references the cast and their impact on the material. A few of the cast members have changed, with Greg Germann taking over for Bradley Whitford. Tony winner Mark Rylance remains in the show, as does Christine Baranski.

The Star-Ledger A
(Michael Sommers) The door-slamming, furniture-jumping, fall-on-the-floor doings of farcical comedy are not to all tastes, of course, so anyone disliking this theatrical genre can skip Boeing-Boeing.. Everybody else better tape their ribs to prevent fractures from laughing so furiously at the madness galloping across the stage of the handsomely renovated Longacre Theatre, where a giddy revival of "Boeing-Boeing" opened yesterday.

NYTimes A-
(Ben Brantley) You see, the appeal of “Boeing Boeing” is the very opposite of what you might expect. It’s not smutty at all. It’s deliciously, deliriously innocent. I haven’t felt so much like a child, while watching a sex comedy, since I was, well, a very young child, taken by his mother to the Billy Wilder movie Some Like It Hot. Like Wilder’s masterpiece this production levitates low burlesque into high comedy. In a generous act of alchemy Mr. Warchus and company have distilled pure pleasure from an impure source.

TheaterMania A-
(David Finkle) Imagine going into a kitchen, gathering together no ingredients whatsoever and from that vacuum producing a perfect soufflé. In a manner of speaking, that's what director Matthew Warchus and a cast of six expert comic actors have achieved with Boeing-Boeing, Marc Camoletti's boulevard farce that stuck around for only 23 performances when it was first done here in 1965. This time, the side-splitting treat should keep laughter-seeking audiences besides themselves with glee for at least 230 performances -- and maybe even 2,300.

NY Daily News A-
(Joe Dziemianowicz) At certain points, the comedy becomes very broad, almost ridiculous. But it's such a blast, you don't care. Credit goes to director Matthew Warchus, whose jet-propelled production is filled with fantastic performances.

Time Out NY B+
(David Cote) Is the 1962 French farce Boeing-Boeing, in which a philandering architect juggles three air-hostess girlfriends, irredeemably misogynist? Or is its nesting of adolescent desire in a clockwork structure a subtle critique of the phallocentric mechanization of late-capitalist Western sexuality? Who the hell cares?!? This is silly, sexy, supersonic fun.

Variety B+
(David Rooney) OK, so it's not exactly Moliere, but the breakneck pacing, the agonizing, close-call timing of all the comings and goings, the escalating outrageousness and the cast's breezy charms make it impossible not to be swept along. And while it usually requires more verbal complexity than physical dexterity to sustain this kind of featherweight comedy, Warchus and the ensemble do a remarkable job of keeping things at cruise speed for 2½ hours with no discernable lags.

Newsday D
(Linda Winer) I hate to be a buzz kill. But "Boeing-Boeing," the 1962 farce that was made into a dimwit 1965 movie with Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis, opened last night, and I don't have a clue to explain the genuine mirth around me...Despite a dreamy hoot of a performance by Mark Rylance (the only holdover from the Brit cast), the director's comic philosophy is rooted in the bellowing, jumping around, hitting-with-a-beanbag-chair school of humor.

NY Post D-
(Clive Barnes) When I saw this revival, staged by Matthew Warchus and designed by Rob Howell, in London last summer, I thought it was terrible, but Rylance had already left the cast, and I was assured by some that he had made a terrific difference. He does make a terrific difference. And it's still terrible - as repetitious and as tedious as a flea circus.

Bloomberg D-
(Jeremy Gerard) Director Matthew Warchus belabors the point with some painfully anachronistic battle-of-the-sexes stage business. Seventy minutes had passed before his production finally lifted off with anything resembling comic energy. Then the first-act curtain fell and the tedious spring-winding started up all over again.

Star-Ledger A 13; NYTimes A- 12; TheaterMania A- 12; NY Daily News A- 12; TONY B+ 11; Variety B+ 11; Newsday D 4; NYPost D- 3; Bloomberg D- 3; TOTAL = 81 / 9 = 9 = B-

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