by Marc Camoletti; Translated by Beverley Cross & Francis Evans
Directed by Greg Leaming
Asolo Repertory Theatre
Florida State U. Center for the Performing Arts' Mertz Theatre
5555 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota, 941-351-8000
Jan. 21-April 23, 20ll  In Revolving Repertory

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker


In the late '60s, Bernard (slick Bryan Torfeh) tightly schedules a life of serial trysts with three airline  hostesses for TWA, Alitalia, and Lufthansa. These "fiancés" fly into and out of Paris and his mod apartment, where Bernard keeps them unaware  of  each other, thanks to his airline timetables and help from maid Bertha. But she (Mercedes Herrero, sly, sarcastic) needs to call on more than her usual resources when she has to make room for Bernard's old friend from the provinces, Robert (Jason Bradley, delightful, especially under pressure), and the hostesses' schedules changing  while  Bernard's out observing the old routines.  It's when the gals begin converging on the apartment that country bumpkin Robert has to act both casual and urbane , concocting stories while putting all the bedroom doors into action.  He becomes the true (and always likeable)  hero of Camoletti's surprisingly enduring  farce.


Greg Leaming  substantiates his well-established credentials in directing the swift movement necessary to farce. He also never lets his actors forget their characters'  primary motivation: sex!  (Bertha, who covets money, is an exception.)  Certainly, the hostesses exude same. With her Midwest American accent and brashness, cute Kim Hausler's Gloria is all take-over, making her being taken in the more ironic. Gorgeous in spite of an obvious (and unattractive) black wig, Angela Sauer alternates between cajoling  and cuddly as Gabriella, who can be sexy even in an overdone "psychedelic" uniform. As Gretchen, statuesque sophisticate Kate Hampton instantly and comically switches from snapping to scintillating or serene.  Her command  of accent, tone, and volume is extraordinary.  It's hard to tell what nationality Bertha is, although there's a late hint it may be Scottish. She resembles no maid in France I've ever seen really or in media. (In the 1960s she'd likely have been either French or Spanish.)  Did the play's translators or director have Thelma Ritter in mind?  I can see no reason for men both lacking French accents (as usually staged in English), since the hostesses' are all particularized.


Colorful abstract paintings and minimalist furnishings within white walls  constitute Judy Gailen's idea of a late '60s set, which Eduardo Sicangco's costumes seem designed to complement. Both are under James D. Sale's  bright lighting.  Matthew Parker's sound design  includes "It's Not Unusual to be Loved by Anyone" as an appropriate introduction to the activity. 

Production Stage Manager is Kelly A. Borgia.  Boeing-Boeing comes down after 2 hours and an intermission of 15-minutes.

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