Well, the brothers themselves don't fly, but everything else does in this highly entertaining show for all ages. The Karamazov Brothers Dmitri (Paul Magid), Ivan (Howard Jay Patterson), Alexei (Mark Ettinger) and Pavel (Roderick Kimball) toss and catch sickles, balls, juggling pins, and what they call the nine danger objects (including a torch, a chunk of dry ice, and a frying pan) among other things. Interspersed with well rehearsed and humorous jokes, puns and funny stories, the group of four work well together, with juggling as well as with comedy.
The Karamazov Brothers have appeared on Broadway and in London's West End since their Obie award winning appearance in 1980 at The Other End in Greenwich Village. They opened the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center in 1986 and participated in a deconstruction version of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors which was broadcast on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center. Magid and Patterson have been performing together for thirty years and they anchor this show, supported equally by the musical Ettinger and newest member, "Baby K" Kimball.
A crowd pleasing highlight of Catch! is "The Gamble," in which "the camp" Dmitri accepts the challenge to juggle any three items supplied and chosen (by applause) by the audience. He has three tries to keep the objects in the air for at least three counts. If he fails, he gets a pie in the face. On the night I saw the show, the three items were a fresh birthday cake, a long plastic Slinky, and a water just of half-frozen water (uncapped) with a helium smiley face balloon attached. As adept with patter as they are with juggling, the Brothers perform a wonderful version of "The Question Game" from Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead combined with group juggling. Their stamina and powers of concentration are displayed during a lengthy period of juggling pins with many special tricks and choreography.
The talent of the Karamazov brothers is unique and well presented in many skits and stunts. Though their act is polished and well-rehearsed, ad-libbing and local references help make the show fresh and new. Part comedy, part theater, part athleticism, The Flying Karamazov Brothers in Catch! at the Byham Theatre October 24-26.