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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs


Review by Michael Hunt
Liverpool Playhouse, Wednesday 17

December 2008

Image: Boeing Boeing Promotional Image

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

What do you get with three air-hostesses, one American, one Italian, one German, two French men and a grumpy maid?

Absolute chaos.

It’s a scenario you’ll find at the Liverpool Playhouse this festive season as Marc Camoletti’s 1960’s comedy, Boeing-Boeing, has arrived at the theatre, translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans.

The French playwright’s classic farce has landed in the city for a five-week run, starring a cast of six familiar faces.

We first meet Bernard, played by Martin Marguez, a successful architect living in Paris, with his American air-hostess fiancée Gloria.

She is a demanding, straight-to-the-point, needy, cabin crew member of TWA Airlines dressed in hot pink.

Although, at first, former Hollyoaks actress Sarah Jayne Dunn keeps, not only Bernard, but the audience’s eyes fixed on her tall, long-legged, blonde hair frame, by wearing just a shirt belonging to the philanderer Bernard.

As she leaves to catch her flight in the morning, his Italian fiancée, Gabriella, arrives.
She is a passionate, sexy, and sassy brunette, working for Alitalia Airlines, dressed in blue, and played seductively by Thaila Zucchi,


Olivier award-winning director, Matthew Warchus, chooses to take the audience on a Brian Rix-style farce, with one door closing followed closely by another one opening - all set within the living room of Bernard’s quite spacious French pad.

Bernard thinks he can easily cope as, he says, “It’s all a question of timetables.” Without his trustee and reliable, long-suffering maid, however, Bernard’s juggling of the ladies would have easily been exposed a while ago.

Maid Bertha is played brilliantly by seasoned actress Susie Blake, who has natural comical timing as the reluctant romantic ‘manager’.

Bertha is soon challenged with the coming and going of visitors once Bernard’s long lost cousin Robert arrives. He is from Aix in southern France. But actor John Marquez (brother to Martin) chooses to make it seem as though he is from Newbridge, South Wales, such is his bizarre use of English in a Welsh accent.

Nonetheless, this might have been intentional by director Warchus. The play has, of course, been adapted into English by Cross and Evans. Added to this, both Martin Marquez and Blake choose to use cockney accents too.

Robert lacks confidence with women, unlike Bernard, and is single, but eventually lands a catch in the form of Bernard’s third air-hostess fiancée.

She is an intense, violent and fiery brunette called Gretchen from Germany. Played by Josephine Butler, she appears dressed in yellow and works for Lufthansa Airlines.
Her arrival causes the plot to become turbulent. Schedules change and flights become delayed as a new turbo-charged Boeing aircraft is introduced.

Chaos soon erupts in this tale of love match-making.

And who was my favourite fiancée? Well, like Robert would later say, it’s “impossible” to choose!

Boeing-Boeing is a little slow at taking off at first, but, once all characters are introduced, it cruises through 2 hours and 25 minutes nicely. The love triangle plot becomes a little frantic, but is kept together by excellent performances.

It finishes with a delightful, although confusing choice of origin, Latin cha-cha-cha dance by all cast members.

Boeing-Boeing appears at the Playhouse until Saturday, 17 January 2009.

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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