Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Is it about Boeing?"

People kept asking me this when I said I was going to see Boeing Boeing. I couldn't answer, since I was only going because I knew it was a comedy and that Bradley Whitford, Christine Baranski, Mark Rylance, and Mary McCormack were in it.

It turns out that it wasn't really; it's about a bachelor in Paris (Whitford) who is juggling three very different stewardess fiancees, helped by his dour Parisian housekeeper (Baranski) and his hapless old schoolmate (Rylance). It ought to have been called Boeing Boeing Boeing. Each stewardess is a wildly over-the-top stereotype: an airheaded bigmouth American, a passionate Italian, and a strapping dictatorial German (McCormack was completely unrecognizable). It's a silly, sexy farce with candy-colored sets and costumes to help it along.

Brilliant acting, especially from Rylance as a stammering, shy Wisconsin man who eventually takes full advantage of his friend's harem situation. Rylance might be best known for directing the Globe Theatre in London for ten productive years, and he recently appeared in The Other Boleyn Girl as the girls' father, Thomas Boleyn. As I said to a friend, how many Shakespeare plays has he been in? how many Shakespearean kings has he played? and I get to see him live on stage riding Bradley Whitford.

I did enjoy the performances very much, but I dearly wish it had been faster paced, especially in the second act. there comes a point at which, when the comedy is all coming from the women popping in and out of doors at (in)opportune times, it gets too predictable. But it ended with a charming conga line from all the stars, which ramped my energy back up.

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