Kelly’s eye in air hostess role on stage in Sheffield

Joseph Kloska and Kelly Price in Boeing Boeing
Joseph Kloska and Kelly Price in Boeing Boeing
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As a little girl, Kelly Price dreamed of being an air hostess. Now she is one on stage.

Kelly Price plays Gloria, one of three air hostesses in Boeing Boeing, the revival of a 1960s farce.

In the comedy, Gloria is engaged to the suave Bernard. What she doesn’t realise is that Bernard has three fiancées, all air hostesses from the USA, Germany and Italy.

He keeps them apart because of the airlines’ different schedules but the introduction of a new, fast airliner causes chaos in his carefully-laid plans as the women start appearing at his apartment unexpectedly.

The comedy is fast-moving as Bernard, his friend Robert and long-suffering maid Bertha struggle to keep the women apart with increasingly frantic lies. There’s lots of beautifully-co-ordinated appearances in and out of five doors.

Kelly said: “I play the American. She appears first. We see her in a domestic setting before we know all the chaos that ensues.

“The apartment is not the calm domestic success it appears to be. It’s complete insanity!

“She’s possibly the longest-established and it’s starting to break down because of all the food she eats, like sauerkraut with whipped cream. She has an appetite for food, love and sex.

“She’s quite a modern woman, the more modern-thinking of the three women.

“Even though we speak the same language, we’re very different people. They are European girls. They are more romantic in their thinking, whereas my character is very rational and black and white. She is closer to Bernard and a bit more like him.”

Kelly says that, although the scenario could be seen as very sexist, that’s not how the play is written.

She said: “The play is set at the start of the 60s when there was rising feminism and liberation for women. The script mentions the Kinsey Report on sexual behaviour, which was huge at that time. Everyone was talking about sex suddenly. The action takes place at the start of that revolution.”

Not that the play is too raunchy, said Kelly. “It’s traditional, good old-fashioned humour. Mum and dad can come and not be offended.

“It’s cheeky and saucy but there is a sexiness to its. The characters are like cats and dogs – the women are prowling around like cats and men are like hungry dogs.

“People are all dating four or five people at once. That’s more acceptable now so it doesn’t feel dated in that sense.

“It’s got a real sexy, modern feel to it whilst keeping a nice, traditional framework. It’s a lot of fun to play.

“It’s nice to play a strong, feisty woman as well. All the women are fantastic roles. She is a lot of fun and I’m quite enjoying it.”

Kelly said she has been fascinated to find out more about the air hostesses of the 1960s, who were very accomplished as well as glamorous.

She said: “The PanAm TV series showed they were like models or film stars. It’s quite something to get your head around.

“I remember flying to Spain when I was a child and thinking ‘if only I could be an air hostess one day’ and now I get to play one.

“They had to be so skilled in cooking three-course meals and speak different languages and be so well trained.

“Even the advertising said ‘come fly with PanAm and even find yourself a wife’. They selected the women carefully.

“You can quite understand Bernard’s predicament and point of view when he can’t quite decide which one to go for. They all have qualities that he imagines equal the perfect woman for him.”

Kelly is no stranger to fast-moving comedy. She was in the National Theatre production One Man, Two Guvnors, which is on at the Lyceum at the moment, in the West End when the lead role was taken by Rufus Hound.

“It’s so slickly written and fantastic and has a different feel to it with all the twists and turns. They’re both brilliantly-written farces. I’m lucky to have done them.”

She said: “I started off on musicals. I did Company here at the Crucible three years ago and had a lovely time doing that. It’s such a lovely city.”

Kelly still uses her musical skills on stage in a different way in Boeing Boeing. “I find farce really quite musical. It’s full of rhythms here and there. It’s just so fast, when you’re going at speed and everything’s happening, it doesn’t give you much time to think. There’s so much you’re trying to remember.”

Boeing Boeing is at the Crucible until June 7. Tickets: from the Crucible box office, call 0114 2496000 or www. 
sheffieldtheatres.co.uk