Most people who remember the Swinging ’60s probably didn’t really swing all that much. But it’s always fun to imagine what it would have been like if we had.
So turn to Marc Camoletti’s farce Boeing Boeing, now onstage in rotating repertory at the Asolo Rep, and indulge your fantasies for a while. Picture yourself as Bernard (Bryan Torfeh), the carefree bachelor juggling relationships–and timetables–with three air hostesses at once from his Paris pad. Or, ladies, imagine yourself as one of those hostesses, all decked out in miniskirts, boots and pillbox hats and ready to fly in style in those heady days of air travel when the strip search didn’t take place until after you got home with your partner. Lots of champagne and Tom Jones songs, sexual liberation in the era of the Pill, and a maid to clean up after you. Who wouldn’t say yes?
Of course it’s not that easy, as Bernard finds out when a) his old chum, a rather provincial nerd named Robert (Jason Bradley), shows up unexpectedly and b)when those flight timetables start to change due to bad weather and faster planes. You know what’s bound to happen anytime you see a set with as many doors as this one; soon, it’s hot and cold running air hostesses everywhere and good old Robert trying desperately to protect his friend from exposure of his tricky setup.
Speaking of that set (by Judy Gailen), it’s a dilly, with the minimal furnishings including a red couch, a lime-green space-age desk chair and several circular rugs that suit the ’60s vibe. And the costumes (by Eduardo Sicangco), with their eye-popping colors and patterns for the females (did I mention that one is Italian, one is German and one is American?), give you something to watch in the moments when the action flags.
For there are those moments when Boeing Boeing seems to involve a lot more talking about the situation than hilarious action caused by the situation itself. That’s the fault of the play; director Greg Leaming has done his best to stage things in a bright, pseudo-sophisticated manner, and the cast is up to the task of pushing the right comedy buttons.
Particularly strong here are Bradley as Robert (you can’t help liking him, and it is fun to watch him panic wildly as things escalate) and Kate Hampton as the German hostess, Gretchen, whose alternately tough and tender reactions tantalize us as much as poor Robert. Torfeh is convincing as a playboy who ultimately sees he might be better off with just one woman, and he and Bradley are a good comic team.
It’s all a rather silly but fairly engaging way of spending two hours. Boeing Boeing continues through April 23; call 351-8000 or go to asolorep.org.