Marc Camoletti’s farce, which first played in 1960, was a smash hit in his native country and (in the English translation by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans) on Broadway and the West End; it went to Hollywood too in 1965, in an adaptation with Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis. Now it’s getting the Dubai treatment with a H72 production at The Junction.
The original has a delicious 60s vibe that hopefully will be retained for a classic farce plot: swinging bachelor Bernard is simultaneously engaged to Gloria, Gabriella, and Gretchen, all flight attendants who don’t know of each other’s existence. But then things get complicated; his friend Robert comes to stay, there’s a recalcitrant housekeeper who has to keep changing the photographs of the fiancées, and complications such as weather and a new, speedier Boeing jet disrupt his careful planning such that all three air hostesses (no one called them ‘cabin crew’ in the 60s) are unexpectedly in Paris – and indeed in Bernard’s flat – at the same time …
Cue confusion, confessions, chaos, and near escapes. It’s a terrific update on the traditional fin de siècle French farce, redolent of its times, and director Sarah Potter is clearly very happy that this production is finally getting to the stage; it’s been in the works since 2017, was scheduled last year, had to be cancelled a day before the show because of pandemic issues. But it is happening, and she says “the fantastic cast keep up a frenetic pace and will keep you guessing how it’s all going to turn out until the very end”.
She has the sort of cosmopolitan cast that speaks of Dubai: Asad Raza Khan plays Bernard, Dee Gee is Robert, the maid Bertha is Sumaya Kubeisy, and the girls are Priyanka Johri, Gabriela Ioana and Vicky Clips.
There are performances at 7.30pm on 24, 25 and 26 November with a matinée on the Sunday as well.
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