If you've ever been at an airport and watched as your travel plans unravel as the words delayed, cancelled and diverted flash up on the flight destination board, you'll know how quickly things can go wrong in the world of airline schedules.
The basic premise for Boeing Boeing is quite brilliant. Set during the 60s, a bachelor living in Paris has three beautiful fiancées, all airline hostesses. He has got life pretty well sussed out and obviously, none of the women know about each other. The bachelor, Bernard, played by Simon Buick, has each woman's schedule noted down in a diary and keeps tabs on each of their arrivals and departures, often down to the exact minute. Bernard is like an air traffic controller, treating his Paris flat more like Charles de Gaulle airport than a city residence.
Each woman flies for a different airline - French Jacqueline works for Air France, American Janet is on TWA and German Judith works for Lufthansa. Victoria Mills plays Bertha, Bernard's grumpy housemaid. She is in on his polygamy schedule and holds everything together, co-ordinating her cooking to suit each woman's tastes, (sauerkraut and frankfurters for the German, proper food for Jacqueline and pancakes and ketchup for the American). Her mumbling and grumbling as she stomps off stage to the kitchen is reminiscent of Papa Bear from the Berenstain Bears. Her dancing with the genuine, period-correct Hoover upright vacuum cleaner, (which must have been a real find for the props manager), was a real highlight. Speaking of props, the women's air hostess uniforms and bags are fantastic, with everything looking genuine and period correct.
Bernard's old school friend Robert, played by Lindsay Franklin, comes into this situation and is amazed at what his old pal has got going on, although it doesn't take long for things to start unravelling and Janet, played by Karlina Nickson is the first one to cast seeds of doubt. Firstly, there's the threat of new technology. The new Boeing aircraft has four jet engines, producing 19,000 pounds of thrust each - a fact that is completely lost on Bernard. Until he realises that flights will be shorter and will completely mess up his timetable, all of which is delightfully presented in a 24-hour time format. Add in some storms and cancellations and soon, the coming and goings of the entire cast through the set's six doors is executed with the precision of an endless procession of 747s and A380s taking off and landing at Heathrow. Well done to the cast and director Stephen Leeks on that one!
French fiancée Jacqueline, played by Rebecca Leafberg has had enough of flying around the world and is not at all interested in going out for the evening to get some fresh air.
"I fly 300,000 miles a year at 30,000 feet. I have had enough of fresh air!" But the boys must remove her from the house, as the German fiancée's flight has arrived early and she is hiding in one of the bedrooms.
Judith, played by Kerttu Matto, arrives on the scene with a double-door opening exuberance that shakes the whole set, her bright yellow Lufthansa uniform and blonde hair like a burst of bright German sunshine. The third and final woman in Bernard's harem, Judith shakes things up the most when she kisses Robert, accidentally of course.
Overall, Boeing Boeing is a delightful two hours, the time flying by, although I found it a bit odd that while all the women in the cast carried off French, American and German accents, the men just spoke in their normal Kiwi accents. My favourite part? Watch for the rotation of photographs on the drinks cabinet.