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 The Flying Karamazov Brothers are back

Entertainment


 
 Photo, Mark Raker
The 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 balancing act.

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.

The current 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.

The four brothers play out their skits to the backing of cardboard boxes, which lounge around the stage and even hang from the ceiling.

The 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?

The 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.

For 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.

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