Photo, Mark RakerThe
Flying Karamazov Brothers feature, from left to right, Nick Flint, Rod
Kimball, Mark Ettinger and Paul Magid. Their latest show is “4PLAY,”
currently playing the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City.
By John Soltes / Editor in Chief
The following review ran in February 2010. The Flying Karamazov Brothers have brought back their show "4PLAY" for an open-ended run at the Minetta Lane Theatre.
NEW YORK (Aug. 6, 2010) —
The Flying Karamazov Brothers, that oddball quartet of juggling actors
(or is it acting jugglers?), are putting on quite the spectacle at the
Minetta Lane Theatre in downtown Manhattan. The four performers (they
are not brothers, but certainly feel like a madcap family), make their
way through a hilarious and near-perfect routine that is three parts
Monty Python, two parts circus act and one part anything-can-happen
oddity. These ingredients make for a scrumptious two hours — great for
children and sometimes even better for adults.
The production at
the Minetta Lane is called “4PLAY.” And
just such a title should reveal the two-sidedness to the Karamazov
Brothers’ type of comedy. Many of their jokes — most of the pratfall,
musical type — have the assembled youngsters in stitches and literally
screaming with laughter.
Then there are the jokes that
effortlessly sail right over the heads of the children and into the ears
of the thankful parents. “4PLAY,” as a title, achieves just such a
For this show, the brothers showcase one act after
another, each one building to the ultimate crescendo: a terror juggle
that includes a meat cleaver, flaming torch and frying pan, among other
objects. The result is inspired fun.
But before experiencing the
terror, one must make their way through the laughs. Most of the jokes
land as nicely as the strategically thrown objects juggled around the
stage. A few land flat, but like the good jugglers they are, the
brothers continue at breakneck speed. Except for the 15-minute
intermission (which did seem oddly out of place), the brothers sprint
through their act with no thoughts of slowing down.
troupe is headed by Paul Magid (writer, director and co-founder) and is
filled out with Mark Ettinger, Rod Kimball and Nick Flint. Each brings
their own expertise to the table, be it music, juggling or comedy. They
wear kilts, that is when they’re not wearing tutus.
brothers play out their skits to the backing of cardboard boxes, which
lounge around the stage and even hang from the ceiling.
cavernous Minetta Lane is an intimate space for a juggling act like the
Flying Karamazov Brothers. There are only a few rows of seats, with most
viewpoints just about perfect.
Sit close enough to the stage and
you might get a cardboard souvenir to bring home (then again, sit close
enough and you’re liable to get a little wet as well).
The type of
entertainment that the Flying Karamazov Brothers are providing is, in
many ways, a dying breed. Where else can a bunch of funny hooligans get
up on a stage with the expressed purpose of making one laugh? How many
of these acts could say they’ve been going for more than 40 years?
Flying Karamazov Brothers are a performing act that should be
experienced as much as they should be treasured. Their comedy style is
simple, and thus perfectly fitting. Take, for example, one sketch where
the jugglers wear Marx brothers black-rimmed glasses and big noses. That
is, except Magid, who could be a twin of Groucho.
Tickets are relatively cheap. The laughs are easy to come by.
the adventurous, bring objects (reasonably sized) to the Minetta Lane
Theatre for the Flying Karamazov Brothers to try and juggle. There is an
ongoing challenge to see if the audience can stump the performers. At
my performance, the brothers found success with a hotdog, chocolate tort
and bag of flour.
The Flying Karamazov Brothers in “4PLAY” is
currently playing the Minetta Lane Theatre at 18 Minetta Lane in New
York City. Tickets range from $10 to $50. Visit www.fkb.com.