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Tom Tangney

'Boeing Boeing' at Seattle Rep is like a 'Mad Men' French-style farce

Half a century on, the play benefits from being a smart period piece. Imagine Mad Men as a French farce - that's "Boeing Boeing." (Photo by Chris Bennion/Seattle Repertory Theatre)

You may have seen or heard the ads for the new play at the Seattle Rep called "Boeing Boeing." But be warned, its very local title is a bit misleading.

"Boeing Boeing" may not be what you think.

For starters, it's French. It's been translated into English, of course, but it's so French, it's a farce.

Another thing - it's over 50 years old. Written in 1962, it ran for years in London but flopped on Broadway in its initial run. And Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis even turned it into a movie back in the day.

After two very successful revivals a few years ago in New York and London, "Boeing Boeing" is finally getting its Seattle debut as part of the 50 year anniversary celebration for the Seattle Rep.

So how's the play? Well, it's a classic farce - with a lot of door-slamming and manic physical comedy. It takes a while for the farce machinery to get up to speed, but when it does, the show delivers a lot of good laughs.

My hunch is it's a lot better now than it was when it premiered. Half a century on, the play benefits from being a smart period piece. Imagine Mad Men as a French farce - that's "Boeing Boeing." In fact, much of the fun and charm of the Rep's production is how it plays with the look and design of the 1960's. The decor and the outfits are as clever as any of the snappy lines the fine cast delivers. And the Rep nicely mines the humor in a play all about "modern" technology, a technology that's now so, so dated. As for that title, Boeing in the 60's represented the height of technological advances.

That notion now seems amusingly quaint, the Dreamliner notwithstanding.

Get out this weekend - find out more about "Boeing Boeing" or other weekend happenings on our events calendar.

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About the Author

Tom Tangney is the co-host of The Tom and Curley Show on KIRO Radio and resident enthusiast of...everything. As the film and media critic on the Morning News on KIRO Radio, he espouses his love for books, movies, TV, art, pop culture, politics, sports, and Husky football.


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