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The farcical Boeing-Boeing doesn't deceive its audience: it carefully sets up the premise and makes it clear from the beginning exactly how it will go wrong. (If asked what happens when more than one of your fiancées is in Paris at the same time, answering "Impossible!" means you [a] brought it on yourself and [b] deserve what's coming.) But in between director Travis W. Walter's air travel–inspired curtain speech and the tightly choreographed curtain call, this crisp Meadow Brook Theatre production proves that getting there is all the fun.

Marc Camoletti's play, adapted from the original French by Beverly Cross, is firmly set in the 1960s, most notably the "air hostesses" dressed like Stewardess Barbie (fine work from costume designer Liz Moore). Yet Katie Hardy's, Julianne Somers's, and Stephanie Wahl's flight attendants are far from interchangeable; instead, they're distinctly interesting, and not one is ever vacant or stupid. The women hail from different countries, have different employers, and are blissfully unaware of each other and the fact that they are all three engaged to Bernard (Christopher Howe). The audience is in on the joke, but waiting to learn when and how and whether they discover his secret — in the midst of constant near-misses and exits and entrances reminiscent of Noël Coward — adds palpable tension to this riotously funny caper.

Of course, bad weather and new routes just happen to land each fiancée in Bernard's sprawling Paris home on the same night, and Howe works very hard indeed to keep each one placated and in the dark. Although the cast as a whole is worth celebrating, the true masterminds are Bernard's functionally neurotic friend (Steve Blackwood) and put-upon housekeeper (Karen Sheridan). Watching Blackwood and Sheridan alternately delight in the preposterous scenario and do all in their power to help Bernard is immensely rewarding; together, their reactions sell every unbelievable development.

The production elements go hand in hand with the wacky sensibilities of the show. Mike Duncan's sound design features French-language versions of '60s pop songs, simultaneously exotic and familiar. Brian Kessler's enormous icy blue apartment set is peppered with mod furniture as well as primary-colored accents put to innovative use.

Boeing-Boeing does not beg to be taken seriously, nor should it. Everything about the show, from the premise to the characters to the outcome, is so far removed from reality — and from the present time — that it comes across as light and inoffensive. It's a credit to the production that the impeccable timing and complicated blocking seem effortless; the audience has little work to do but laugh at how it all unfolds.


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