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The Flying Karmazov Brothers at ACT in Seattle
Review by Peg Doman

The Flying Karmazov Brothers at ACT in Seattle - Review,  The Flying Karamazov Brothers Seattle, The Flying Karamazov Brothers ACT Seattle wa washington. Photo by Carol Rosegg

The Flying Karmazov Brothers at ACT
Review by Peg Doman

When we go north to Seattle or beyond, we like to do “the laying on of hands” with our lovely granddaughters. Our northern-most goal was the state cheerleading competition in Everett that Franklin Pierce HS, Caitlin’s school, is a part of.

But, Vanessa lives in Ballard. So we picked her up and went to the Palace Kitchen for Happy Hour appetizers. (See Don’s story for more photos and a description of the sumptuous feast at nwadventures.us. Yummy, yummy, yummy!) Then, on to an evening of giddy silliness, juggling, dance, music and some of the corniest jokes and puns that even Don, supreme punster that he is, might find it better not to offer.

For more years than we care to admit, we’ve been laughing at the Flying Karamazov Brothers. We first saw them on a PBS special, then at TAG (Tacoma Actors Guild) when it was still in the old St. Leo’s school, the Pantages, and with friends in Port Townsend for performances at Fort Warden. My friend Del and I even had one each of the FKB’s “stupid hats.”

The Flying Karmazov Brothers at ACTThey are appearing in ACT’s Falls Theatre, and it’s a pun event. There were lots of kids, grandparents and everyone in between in the audience. Vanessa had never seen the FKB, so all the pieces in the show were new to her. She laughed her 'whatever' off. We had so much fun! The set is composed of stacks of cardboard boxes, at least 12-feet high, the kind you buy from U-Haul to pack up your household goods to move from your first apartment to a new home. Stacks and stacks and stacks of them. Now, if you think about it, this is a relatively inexpensive set and it can double as containers for the Indian clubs when on to the next venue; however, they weren’t just stage dressing. They were part of several of the pieces and integral to one.

The FKB are introduced and they come onto the stage one by one and busy themselves with moving the stacks and stacks and stacks of boxes around the place, while Alexi (Mark Ettinger) plays Beethoven on the piano at the side of the stage. Founding member Dmitri (Paul Magid) now has exceedingly curly, curly, cascading grey hair, compared to the jet black it used to be. Youngest member Zossimo (Stephen Bent) is very tall. Commentary goes back and forth between them, until Pavel (Rod Kimball) brings out an item and introduces it as number one in the series of “terror” objects that will be juggled, including a meat cleaver, a flaming torch, a fish, an egg and other incongruent items. Incongruence is a hallmark of a FKB performance.

Their costumes were simple but very apt. They all wore black Utili-Kilts with long-sleeved white dress shirts, black bow ties, black boots and socks, then added a black vest, and on a few occasions, a black, waist-length jacket. They looked as if they had just come from a Highland wake. There were adaptations, including wonderful kilt-length jackets for the cardboard Taiko drum concert, white net tutus for the ballet sequence, and the white trash costumes for the Appalachian Mountains scene. (The FKB are so cultured.)

The Brothers issued a challenge to the audience members before tickets went on sale, that each could bring any item for the Champ (Dmitri) to choose to juggle. The only limitations were that each item had to be at least an ounce, less than 10 pounds and no bigger than a breadbox. (Who still uses a bread box?) If the Champ could juggle all the items he chose, he would earn a standing ovation. If he couldn’t keep them all in the air, he’d earn a cream pie in the face. Well, I think the greased dumbbell, the very odd pink, limp, long, thin balloon filled of a more-than-mildly-disgusting, viscous liquid and the arm that fell off the two-and-a-half foot tall walking doll provided a real challenge. Champ that he is, he accepted the challenge, took his pie in the face and earned a standing ovation anyway. That’s just how the Brothers fly.

The Flying Karamazov Brothers are at ACT through February 12. For tickets or information, go online at www.acttheatre.org or call the box office at 206-292-7660. Take a kid who’s been depressed this winter. He/she will thank you, and so will the Flying Karamazov Brothers.

The Flying Karmazov Brothers at ACT in Seattle - Review. Photo by Carol Rosegg

The Flying Karmazov Brothers at ACT in Seattle - Review,  The Flying Karmazov Brothers Seattle, The Flying Karmazov Brothers ACT Seattle wa washington.


The Flying Karmazov Brothers at ACT in Seattle - Review,  The Flying Karmazov Brothers Seattle, The Flying Karmazov Brothers ACT Seattle wa washington.

The Flying Karmazov Brothers at ACT in Seattle - Review,  The Flying Karmazov Brothers Seattle, The Flying Karmazov Brothers ACT Seattle wa washington.

The Flying Karmazov Brothers at ACT in Seattle - Review,  The Flying Karmazov Brothers Seattle, The Flying Karmazov Brothers ACT Seattle wa washington.

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