Boeing Boeing. Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich. January 2015.
Up until now a mixture of laziness and inability to work out what the day is has stopped me going to the Maddermarket Theatre here in Norwich but last week I finally got there. Thanks to the weather and a hurried change in companion I nearly didn't make it but I am so glad that I did.
The theatre itself is very important in the field of Shakespeare Performance studies and I keep coming across mentions of the building in journals and reference books as I study - a brief explanation as to why is here.
My first visit wasn't to see Shakespeare however but to see a 1960s farce, translated from a French original. I've discovered over the past few years that I quite like farce as a genre but that it has to be done very well to succeed. This was done as well, or if not better than the touring London companies that I have seen.
Bernard lives in Paris, he has a nice apartment, a long suffering (and scene stealing) house keeper and three fiancees. The three fiancees aren't a problem however as they all work as air hostesses (this is set in the 1960s remember) for rival airlines and their schedules mean that they are never in Paris at the same time... until they are.
Luckily for Bernard his hapless but romantic friend from Wisconsin has just flown in and so everything will be just fine...
The tension and humour built brilliantly throughout this play, and coupled with some wonderful stage falls and expressions I was in stitches for much of the play and wonderfully for a farce the ending was perfect and not at all a let down. My hat goes off to all the actors for keeping up such a pace without once losing momentum.
My companion on the evening was Mr Norfolkbookworm and he is more of a film person than a theatre goer so on the next night we watched the film version, produced just a couple of years after the original stage play. It really wasn't very good at all, the humour was missing and the chemistry between any of the characters - we both agreed that if we'd seen the film first we'd never have gone to the theatre.
I'm now sitting here with my diary trying to work out just how many other things I can see by the Maddermarket company in among all the other things I already have booked.