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Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti was performed by Prosperous Dramatic Society at Newry Drama Festival.

The play is set in the 1960’s and bachelor Bernard has it all going for him. A flat in Paris and not one but three Air Hostess engaged to him but not one of them aware of the others existence, due to a complex “flawless” system where when one is in Paris the other is in the air and the other is on the ground in America. Throw into the mix Bernard’s friend Robert who comes to stay and a hard done by housekeeper and let the drama begin!

Robert (Robert Massey) and Gretchen (Ashleigh O'Neill) get to know each other in Boeing Boeing at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Robert (Robert Massey) and Gretchen (Ashleigh O'Neill) get to know each other in Boeing Boeing at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

All good things come to an end and in this case it’s Boeings fault for producing a faster plane which puts the best made plans out of kilter and the three girls are in town all at the same time.

Boeing Boeing was made a film in 1965 and Adjudicator Michael O’Hara commented “Tony Curtis played the part of Bernard and Jerry Lewis played the part of Robert, and dear God, Jerry Lewis lives!”

Jokingly the Adjudicator referring to Roberts amorous encounters said “I do think the kissing was overdone. He kept twitching, and I tell you what and I say it to Robert, rehearsal’s must have been hell!”

Robert (Robert Massey) and Gloria (Amanda Ryan) and Bernard (Fergal Crehan) in Boeing Boeing at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Robert (Robert Massey) and Gloria (Amanda Ryan) and Bernard (Fergal Crehan) in Boeing Boeing at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Continuing he said Boeing Boeing is “A world of comedy taking the form of a classical French farce complete with multiple doors as you saw and two men in a perpetual state of high anxiety, one more than the other, as a result of a scheme of sexual shenanigans and farce at the best of times is so difficult, so so difficult, it demands so much precision in timing, pace, queueing and in concentration and in timing, oh dear me, at the best of times difficult, but this time on Newry stage tonight they showed how it could be done

“This was a very imaginative setting was it not, a fine fine design here, doors to the kitchen worked so well particularly at Berthas boot and all the time, she didn’t slip she didn’t falter, she just banged it. They were obviously these doors extremely well constructed. I think generally this set, there was a lot of fine honing here. The angles here gave us three dimensional effects after that high tech design. This was modern man in Paris and his world was bliss … until what you saw tonight.”

On the staging and costuming he added “Acting spaces well defined and very well used, extremely well used by the cast.I do think the lighting was very supportable, there’s no doubt about it. Perhaps the fact that we had a morning, afternoon and evening setting perhaps a slight slight difference in the lighting might have added a little extra dimension.

“About costuming I’ve got to say this, costuming was very good. I think a lot of the costuming was ‘extremely well cut’ and indeed well fitted …. and thats the men only. Women also were will fitted.”

Referring on House keeper Bertha “She shared up more than her fair share of attitude. Her impatience certainly understandable because Bernard was living on the edge and it was taking its toll on Bertha. Well drawn, well sustained”

Commenting on Bernard “Bernard good characterisation. It was contained, well drawn and it was engaging”

The hard pressed house keeper Bertha (Zita McGarry Kelly) in Boeing Boeing at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The hard pressed house keeper Bertha (Zita McGarry Kelly) in Boeing Boeing at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

On the three Air Hostess “They all not only looked good, their gestures were good, their energy was good, played so well with the opposite numbers that they had”

Robert “The old school charmer. He seemed a sort of ultra dorky guy from Wisconsin but as it turned out he’s either a very fast learner with unexpected potential or he’s a naive genius and before long he’s not only spinning the revolving picture frame that holds the smiling faces of the trio of women, yeah with far greater skill than Bernard himself but he is now going to get the lions share of perks. He had energy, concentration, totally immersed in that role and I’ve got to say he must have been fun to play with, I men to act with because he almost willed people to give back to him what he was giving out and that was a very fine performance.”

In conclusion the Adjudicator said “To the group just to say, a fine example of classical farce by a very competent and talented cast who demonstrated a verve and a breathless but yet controlled pace for the show and in delivering a most commendable production. That was very good work from Prosperous.”

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