Roger Allam, Mark Rylance (pictured) and Frances De La Tour will star in a revival of Marc Camoletti’s 1961 French comedy Boeing-Boeing, which will open on 15 February 2007 (previews from 3 February) at the West End’s Comedy Theatre, where it’s initially booking until 28 April 2007.
Paris-based English architect Bernard (Allam) thought he could easily cope with his three air hostess fiancées. It was all a question of timetables and his reliable, down-to-earth maid Bertha (De La Tour), who never forgot to change the photographs in the bedroom. Only when the 'Super' Boeing, with its faster flights, takes over is he landed with a triple problem. His old school friend Robert (Rylance) arrives unexpectedly and joins the set in a whirl of confusion and matchmaking.
The new production is directed by Matthew Warchus, fitting it in ahead of his June opening of The Lord of the Rings at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (See News, 8 Sep 2006). According to the Daily Mail newspaper, Warchus is using a literal translation from the French as well as Beverley Cross’ original English adaptation to create an updated.
When the farce had its original London run, it held the record for being the West End’s longest-running comedy, playing for over 2,000 performances at the Apollo Theatre, where it opened in February 1962. Promotional material describes the revival as a “sexy new, tongue-in-cheek production” that’s “stylishly retro” and starring “leading actors usually known for their classic roles”.
Roger Allam’s most recent West End credits include Aladdin, Democracy, What the Night Is For and, earlier this year, Blackbird. Amongst his many other credits are Pravda, Albert Speer, The Cherry Orchard, Art, Money, Macbeth, Summerfolk and Privates on Parade, the last two of which both won him Oliviers.
Another multiple Olivier Award winner, Frances De La Tour has most recently had success on stage and screen with Alan Bennett’s The History Boys. Her many other stage credits include Fallen Angels, Antony and Cleopatra, The Cherry Orchard, Three Tall Women, A Moon for the Misbegotten and Duet for One. The actress is also a familiar television face, most notably for her role in the long-running 1980s comedy Rising Damp.
Boeing-Boeing will mark the first London stage appearance for Mark Rylance since he stepped down last year as artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, where his many acting credits over the years included Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night, Richard II, Measure for Measure and The Tempest.
Further casting of the three air hostesses will be announced shortly. The production is designed by Rob Howell.
Currently at the Comedy Theatre, Jeremy Sams’ revival of Michael Frayn’s Olivier Award-winning comedy Donkeys' Years - also presented by Boeing-Boeing’s producer Sonia Friedman - closes on 16 December at the end of its current booking period (See News, 6 Nov 2006). It’s followed by a limited Christmas return engagement for Richard O'Brien’s cult rock ‘n’ roll musical The Rocky Horror Show from 21 December 2006 to 27 January 2007 (See News, 21 Nov 2006).
- by Terri Paddock