Try the new FT.com

June 21, 2011 6:26 pm

The Flying Karamazov Brothers, Vaudeville Theatre, London

  • Share
  • Print
  • Clip
  • Gift Article
  • Comments

The Flying Karamazov Brothers are Paul Magid, Mark Ettinger, Roderick Kimball and Stephen Bent – a four-man troupe of American jugglers and musicians whose claim to fame is the ability to pass an impressively diverse range of items between themselves at speed. Dressed in tails, kilts and sturdy Doc Marten shoes, they manically perform on a stage stacked high with cardboard boxes – the implication seemingly being that anything more valuable/breakable would make for excessive premiums.

Juggling, after all, is a form of entertainment where anticipating the next dropped club is part of the fun for the audience, and in that the Brothers do not disappoint. Even in the opening numbers clubs are dropped and with that comes a sense that what they are doing must be so technically challenging that, even after nearly 40 years (Magid co-founded the Brothers in 1973), they still cannot do it perfectly.

 
 The Flying Karamazov Brothers
in full flow

In the Challenge, audience members are invited to bring items that weigh no less than an ounce, no more than 10lb and are no bigger than a bread bin, three of which Magid attempts to juggle. The nine items that make up Terror are gradually introduced during the night and include a ukulele, dry ice and an egg. The aim is to make success seem so unlikely that if it goes right, the Brothers are worthy of rapturous applause, and if it goes wrong, who’s surprised?

That they ever get it right is impressive but these centrepiece tricks suffer from the fact that if they work they have to be wrapped up so fast that, for non-aficionados, the detail is lost. More enjoyable routines – such as Throwing Some Jazz, an extended period of improvised back and forth juggling, and those that incorporate percussion and glowing balls – give the audience more time to appreciate the skill.

The most memorable moment on Monday was easily the look of terror on an onstage audience member’s face as flaming clubs flew around her body; like the rest of us, she had already seen that these things really can go wrong.

 

nimaxtheatres.com

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

  • Share
  • Print
  • Clip
  • Gift Article
  • Comments

LIFE AND ARTS ON TWITTER

More FT Twitter accounts
SHARE THIS QUOTE