Review: `Boeing Boeing’ at Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, PA

Hedgerow Theatre revives Marc Camoletti’s farce Boeing Boeing, leaving its audience aloft with laughter! Set in Paris, circa the mod `60’s, Bernard (Andrew Parcell), a swinging archictect has built his love life upon airline timetables.

Gretchen (Allison Bloechl) , Gabriella (Hanna Gaffney), and Gloria (Meredith Beck). Photo by Ashley Labonde.
L to R: Gretchen (Allison Bloechl), Gloria (Meredith Beck), and Gabriella (Hanna Gaffney). Photo by Ashley LaBonde.

His romantic itinerary revolves around the flight schedules of three lovely airline hostesses: Gloria (Meredith Beck), a wily American TWA stewardess, amazingly exuberant Gretchen (Allison Bloechl) of Lufthansa, and intensely Italian, Gabriella (Hanna Gaffney), of Air Italia.

When Bernard’s old friend Robert, from Wisconsin, comes to visit, Bernard explains the situation adding that has made a promise of engagement to all of the women. Robert is astonished, but catches on quickly, assisting in keeping the women separated when the faster, bolder new Boeing jets speed up the likelihood of their courses colliding.

Bernard’s maid, Berthe (Trice Baldwin), is always on the verge of being completely put out, not hesitating to make her mood made known (much to the amusement of the audience). Still Berthe, and Robert make an effort to enable Bernard to circumnavigate this small fleet of fiancées, but it starts to look like the little white contrails of deception may be pointing to a multi-lover crash landing…

The terrific comedic timing of the cast, which is crucial to the success of such a show, ensures the utmost in entertainment. Trice Baldwin knows how to hold on to a moment, and give it just the right squeeze to unleash laughs.  Her expressions as grumpy Berthe exact tons of tittering.

Mark Swift (Robert) and Andrew Parcell (Bernard). Photo by Ashley Labonde.
Mark Swift (Robert) and Andrew Parcell (Bernard). Photo by Ashley LaBonde.

Mark Swift gives extra ‘kooky’ to his character, Robert, along with his hilarious physical hijinks, especially when he swoops in on Gretchen.

Andrew Parcell completely sells as the handsome playboy, making it doubly funny when he ‘loses it’ as Bernard, while the nice mid-western Robert keeps cool.

Meredith Beck also demonstrates comic physicality and hits all the right notes as a brash American woman, as does Hanna Gaffney as Gabriella when she takes off, talking a mile a minute with a very impressive Italian accent.

Allison Bloechl’s presence beams from the stage as Gretchen, totally airborn in love, on cloud nine, her uber German accentuating the zaniness. Put them all together and watch the silliness and sensational schtick ensue!  The details in staging, positioning, and movement are well wrought and excellently executed by the ensemble.

Mark Swift (Robert) and Meredith Beck (Gloria), and Trice Baldwin (Berthe). Photo by
Mark Swift (Robert), Meredith Beck (Gloria), and Trice Baldwin (Berthe). Photo by Ashley LaBonde.

A pretty Parisian set by Zoran Kovcic in pastel hues, with the right amount of matching furnishings, and delightful costuming by Sean Quinn, give a good sense of the ’60s, along with neat period props by Susan Wefel and Grey Kelsey. Lights by Rusty Davenport and sound by Jared Reed are smoothly accomplished, adding finesse to a finely tuned production.

The wonderfully positive reaction of Hedgerow’s packed house on opening night also appears to reaffirm that, although it’s from a throw-back era, Carmoletti’s sexy French farce seems to be making a comeback, and as directed by Damon Bonetti is likely to continue ascent.

For a farcically fun time, take off to see Boeing Boeing at Hedgerow Theatre.

Running time: About 2 hours, with one 15-minute intermission.

Boeing Boeing plays through August 21, 2016 at Hedgerow Theatre – 64 Rose Valley Road, in Rose Valley, PA. For tickets, call (610) 565-4211, purchase them at the door, or online.


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