Two London plays which recently opened to critical acclaim – Sixties farce Boeing Boeing and the 50th anniversary revival of The Entertainer, starring Robert Lindsay as Archie Rice – have announced extensions to their booking periods.

At the Old Vic The Entertainer (See Review Round-up, 7 Mar 2007), which opened on 7 March 2007 (following previews from 23 February) and had originally been booking until 19 May, had added an extra week, taking its limited season up to 26 May 2007. (A further announcement about the next show in the Old Vic season will be made at the beginning of April.)

Set in the 1950s in a society on the brink of change and at war over the Suez Canal, Osborne's drama follows embittered and struggling music hall comedian Archie Rice – created on stage and screen by Laurence Olivier - trying to keep a semblance of happiness within his dysfunctional family. Lindsay is joined in the cast of Sean Holmes’ production by John Normington, Emma Cunniffe, David Dawson and Pam Ferris as Archie’s long-suffering wife.


Meanwhile, at the Comedy Theatre, Matthew Warchus’ production of Marc Camoletti’s classic Sixties farce Boeing Boeing has landed an extra six months and is now taking bookings to 20 October 2007. Opened on 15 February (previews from 3 February), it had initially been booking to 28 April (See Review Round-up, 16 Feb 2007).

The current cast – which includes Roger Allam, Mark Rylance, Frances de la Tour, Daisy Beaumont, Tamzin Outhwaite (pictured with Rylance) and Michelle Gomez – are expected to continue in their roles until 23 June. Any recasting is due to be announced soon.

Parisian architect Bernard (Allam) thought he could easily cope with his three air hostess fiancées. It was all a question of timetables and a reliable, long-suffering housekeeper (de la Tour) who reluctantly has the role of romantic air-traffic controller. When old school chum Robert (Rylance) arrives, Bernard relishes the chance to show his wide-eyed friend his first-class operation at work. Unfortunately, schedules change, flights are delayed and a new turbo-charged Boeing aircraft is introduced, causing chaos.

Boeing-Boeing, which originally opened in London in the mid-sixties, held the world record for the longest-running comedy in the West End, playing over 2,000 performances before transferring to Broadway. This production is designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone. It’s presented in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Act Productions, Matthew Byam Shaw, Robert G Bartner and Bob Boyett.

- by Caroline Ansdell