Alameda's Altarena Playhouse offers a fun trip back to the 1960s with its current production of Marc Camoletti's comedy "Boeing Boeing."

Running through Sept. 14, the show features lots of talent often seen on Contra Costa stages. Tim Beagley directs a fine cast composed of Matt Davis (Bernard), Rhonda Taylor (American air hostess), Sue Trigg (Berthe), Charles Woodson Parker (Robert), Laura Morgan (Italian air hostess) and Jayme Catalano (German air hostess).

Beagley adds some nice touches beginning with the opening announcement about cell phones, etc. delivered in both French and English by an "airline hostess." Nice way to set the scene for this story of an American living in Paris (Bernard) with three fiancés, who all work for different airlines. Bernard manages to keep the girls from knowing about each other until a new, faster airplane debuts and blows his carefully crafted schedule to smithereens.

Lots of physical humor keeps the show flying high, with Beagley's talented cast keeping up the fast pace essential to the comedy. Parker is especially effective as Bernard's naive friend visiting from Wisconsin, and Sue Trigg brings her own unique touch to the crazed housekeeper Berthe. Taylor, Morgan and Catalano look splendid in the brightly colored airline uniforms, designed by costumer extraordinaire Liz Martin. While all three actresses do an impressive job, Catalano's German accent is at times a bit too authentic and difficult to understand. A treat for me, however, was to see Davis shine as the suave Bernard, a nice change from his more typical tough-guy roles.


Advertisement

All of the action plays out on George Ledo's modern, mauve-toned set with the oh-so-important four doors that require split-second timing by the actors.

For tickets (many shows have sold out), call 510- 523-1553or go to www.altarena.org.

  • n n

    The interaction between a showbiz icon and a struggling actor makes for a riveting one-man show in Jonathan Tolins' "Buyer and Cellar."

    The title's take on words is a good indication of what you have in store when you attend this hilarious spoof wondrously performed by Michael Urie. You may remember Urie as the rather catty costumer in TV's "Ugly Betty." Here, he's Alex, an actor hired to run the "mall" in Barbra Streisand's basement. The series of stores (true fact) housing Babs' collection of costumes and memorabilia from her long career plays out on Andrew Boyce's cream-colored set.

    Showing his exceptional comedic timing and charming demeanor, Urie tells the story of his time with Babs, switching easily from Alex to Babs, her husband James Brolin and Alex's boyfriend. Thanks to Tolins' writing and Urie's captivating performance, the show manages to be both funny and sympathetic as the many sides of Barbra and Alex are revealed.

    "Buyer and Cellar" runs through Aug. 31. Call 888-746-1799 or go to www.shnsf.com.

  • n n

    The story of Motown Records and its staggering importance to so many top performers and to popular music in general receives an enthusiastic presentation at San Francisco's SHN Opheum Theatre through Sept. 28.

    Thanks to the talents of director Charles Randolph-Wright and his extraordinary cast, "Motown the Musical" recounts the life of record producer/manager Berry Gordy as he creates Motown Records and guides young talent into superstars. A plethora of amazing performers play the hit groups from the '50s through the '80s with Allison Seemes a stand out as Diana Ross -- ditto to Nicholas Christopher (Smokey Robinson), Jarran Muse (Marvin Gaye), Reed Shannon (a young Michael Jackson) and Clifton Oliver (Berry Gordy).

    A special treat on opening night was having the real Berry Gordy come up on stage and lead the performers through one last song. The man may be in his '80s but he's still got the moves!

    For a trip back in time to hear the Four Tops, The Supremes, The Temptations and many others, don't miss this show. Call 888-746-1799 or go to www.shnsf.com.

  • n n

    If you enjoyed last season's "Anna Christie" at Danville's Role Player's Ensemble, you might enjoy seeing Eden Neuendorf (who played Anna) in the very different role of Cass in "Wonder of the World" by David Lindsay-Abaire.

    Playing at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre, 22311 N. Third St., in Hayward Aug. 29-Sept. 21, the show follows one woman's wild and wacky quest for happiness and self-fulfillment. For tickets, call 510-881-6777 or go to www.dmtonline.org.

    Contact Sally Hogarty at sallyhogarty@gmail.com