The Flying Karamazov Brothers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Flying Karamazov Brothers 

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The stock market aside, what goes up need not come down, a fact the Flying Karamazov Brothers--juggling geniuses who seldom let an audience or a prop down--have been proving for 23 years. Over the last dozen years Goodman Theatre audiences have seen Paul Magid (Dmitri), Howard Jay Patterson (Ivan), Michael Preston (Rakitin), and Sam Williams (Smerdyakov) in a vaudevillian Comedy of Errors and in The Three Moscowteers, a freewheeling adaptation of Dumas' classic. Recently they appeared on a Seinfeld episode too, stealing Jerry's blazer in a case of magic gone awry. Their current venture, part of the "Home for the Holidays Festival," is billed as a "pendulum of compendium" of their zaniest musical and acrobatic tricks. Certainly anything these guys touch becomes grist for their musical mill: besides romping through an agonizing hip-hop ballet, the brothers play a Japanese-inspired "taiko" percussion piece on "tuned" cardboard boxes, and wielding balls and clubs they beat various drums into submission. Pounded out on electronic helmets, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" is barely recognizable. The show includes two signature acts: "Jazz" (beautifully performed in black-light precision) and "The Gamble," in which audience members dare a Karamazov to juggle any three objects. (Past donations have included liver, computers, ice cream, Slinkys, bread boxes, and a nine-and-a-half-pound dead octopus--live animals aren't allowed.) Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, 312-431-2370 or 312-902-1500. Saturday, December 27, 2 and 8 PM. The early show is preceded at 1 PM by the Chicago Park District "Jump" Company; the late show is preceded at 7 PM by the Taylor Made Juggling Extravaganza. $15-$35. --Lawrence Bommer

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Paul Boyer.

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