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The Flying Karamazov Brothers dazzle with wild theatrics | TribLIVE.com
Theater & Arts

The Flying Karamazov Brothers dazzle with wild theatrics

Candy Williams
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The Flying Karamazov Brothers, a troupe of “new Vaudevillians” that combines music, juggling and comedy, will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 13 at Hillman Center for Performing Arts, Shady Side Academy Senior School, Fox Chapel.

Anyone that knows a person – or may themselves be – so uncoordinated they “can’t chew gum and walk at the same time” can appreciate the talents of The Flying Karamazov Brothers, who are just the opposite.

The entertainers that started out as street performers in Santa Cruz, Calif., have earned international praise for their ability to combine wild theatrics and amazing juggling skills all the while they are making their audiences laugh out loud with their crazy antics.

The Flying Karamazov Brothers aren’t actually siblings – but that’s about the only non-authentic thing about them.

Season finale

The troupe will perform as the season finale of the Hillman Performing Arts Series at Shady Side Academy at 7:30 p.m. April 13 in Hillman Center for Performing Arts on the Shady Side Academy Senior School campus in Fox Chapel.

Formed in 1973, The Flying Karamazov Brothers have been seen around the world, from a comedy show at the Ritz Theatre on Broadway in 1983, to television shows – from a 1996 episode of “Seinfeld” titled “The Friars Club” to “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and more – and in movies, including the 1985 film, “The Jewel of the Nile.”

They have incorporated music into their performances through the use of special clubs adapted as percussion strikers, enabling them to play drums and marimba phones while they demonstrate elaborate juggling skills.

Members of the Karamazovs are musicians as well as comedians and jugglers, playing a range of conventional instruments, including woodwinds and brasses.

‘New Vaudeville’ performers

Referred to as one of entertainment’s “new vaudeville” acts, they’ve performed with the National Symphony Orchestra at Kennedy Center Concert Hall and offered their adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” at Lincoln Center. They’ve played with the Cincinnati Pops at Carnegie Hall, and in concert appearances with symphony orchestras from Nashville to New Mexico.

Even their juggling skills are a cut above the rest. One of the most requested in their catalog of classic bits is their “Terror Trick,” in which they gradually introduce a random group of everyday items to the audience – a torch, a salt shaker, a cleaver, a ukulele, a skillet, an egg, a fish, a block of dry ice and a bottle of champagne – which they juggle together and end up cooking the egg and the fish in the skillet and drinking the champagne.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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