ALAMEDA -- The sound of laughter shook the Altarena Playhouse this past weekend with the opening of a translated French play, "Boeing Boeing."

Timothy Beagley creatively directed this farce as a presentation of skewed ethics and reckless pleasure. No audience member would take on the fictional lifestyle in "Boeing Boeing," which makes the show all the more fun.

Bernard, an American architect living in Paris, (played by Matt Davis) has three fiancees -- one American, Gloria; one Italian, Gabriella; and one German, Gretchen. Actually, Bernard has no interest in getting married.

The three fiancees are airline stewardesses and each has a different schedule. In that way, with careful planning, only one of them will be in Paris for more than a short stay at a time.

But one day, all three arrive on the same day.

Robert, an old school friend of Bernard's (Charles Woodson Parker), also arrives at about the same time as the girls. That's good because it becomes his responsibility to keep each girl away from the others. Not easy.

Parisian housekeeper Berthe helps. She is played by hilarious Altarena veteran actress Sue Trigg. Usually, Berthe keeps the apartment clean, dancing whenever she can. She also works as Bernard's cook, preparing American, Italian and German meals during each fiancee's visit.

The girls each express great love for Bernard. Rhonda Taylor, playing Gloria, seems to be the most relaxed of the three, although secretly she may be the most bold. In one scene, shortly after she has finished taking a bath, Gloria corners Robert and calmly drops her wet towel, exposing all.


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Gabriella (Laura Morgan) also expresses love, urging Bernard to choose a nearby date for their wedding. Her Italian accent, carefully brought forth by coach Enza Sebastiani, is beautifully authentic.

Gretchen (Jayme Catalano) is firmly opinionated and firm. Gradually, she finds Bernard's friend Robert more and more attractive. Robert does not mind that at all. In fact, Robert ends up proposing to Gretchen.

"Boeing Boeing" is the funniest play performed here in a long time, but the size of the Altarena Playhouse presents problems.

When all three stewardesses turn up, each is hidden in either the bathroom or the bedroom. Meanwhile, two, three or four characters are onstage screaming at one another. It would seem that anyone in either the bathroom or the bedroom could not help but hear the noise. They don't.

But, who cares. The timing of the actors is so amusing that the dance they do at the end of the play, which was choreographed by Deedra Wong, is an expression of everyone's total joy.

if you go
What: "Boeing Boeing"
Where: Altarena Playhouse, 1409 High St., Alameda
When: 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 14
Tickets: $24 adults; $21 students and seniors
Information: 510-523-1553 or go to www.altarena.org