Boeing Boeing was slated for production at Circle Bar B (CBB) long before fate dealt an eviction notice to the quirky and beloved dinner theater a few months ago. And now it seems only fitting that CBB should stage for its swan song a 50-year-old farce that centers on that modern symbol of dislocation: the airline.
I can promise you that with Boeing Boeing, Circle Bar B is ending with a bang, not a whimper. This second-week matinee locked in the attention and the laughs of a sold-out audience, as a cast of some of Santa Barbara’s finest actors pulled out all the stops. The chauvinistic premise of Boeing Boeing may be as silly and shallow as the notion of manhood peddled in a 1960s issue of Playboy magazine, and its successful revival (London in 2007, Broadway in 2008) may owe something to the nostalgia of the aging boomer generation. But the kicker is in the hilarious dialogue, the skillful buildup of absurdity, and the way this cast carries the material to soaring altitude. Raymond Wallenthin, Tiffany Story, Jenna Scanlon, UCSB’s Gerry Hansen, Susie Couch, and understudy David Couch (for Dillon Yuhasz) starred.
The short drive to the Ranch has always felt to me like 30 miles out and 50 years back. From the sentimental comedy Wally’s Café to the slapstick spoof The Fox on the Fairway, CBB has been a country refuge, where business wears a personal face, patrons are on a first-name basis, and the foibles of life and love are figured in simpler outline. All theater misrepresents life, but in a culture that competes in lowering the bar for shock and viciousness in the name of humor, CBB has always stood for an innocent alternative.