The Flying Karamazov Brothers' entertaining new show combines juggling prowess with a musical sensibility.
Unlike some of the troupe's previous shows, which have plundered the storylines of works such as Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, there isn't much of a plot. Rather, the four male performers -- Paul Magid (who also directed), Mark Ettinger, Roderick Kimball, and Stephen Bent -- combine their juggling prowess with explorations of various forms of music (and sometimes dance). There's a tribute to Japanese Taiko drumming, a pseudo-ballet sequence, choral singing, and a rather bizarre segment that they claim as representing "Polish Appalachian Clog Dance."
One of the highlights is a routine that applies jazz improvisation to the art of juggling, while another has the performers playing various musical instruments in a unique collaborative manner while also keeping several balls in the air. Several of their bits use whatever they're juggling to make percussive sounds, while others are performed to a background instrumental track.
For each show, the audience is asked to bring in items for Magid to attempt to juggle. At the performance I attended, these included a snowball, an umbrella, and a stick of butter. The performers also engage in patter with the audience, and tell a large number of puns -- some groan-inducing and others unexpectedly hilarious.
Costume designer Susan Hilferty has outfitted the troupe in a combination of formal wear and whimsy that includes, at various points in the show, tuxedo jackets, kilts, tutus, and even a belly shirt. The clothing is an added element of visual humor that is perfectly in keeping with the off-the-wall antics that the Brothers regularly engage in.