Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus | Review of Boris and Sergey's Preposterous Improvisation Experiment at the Mimetic Festival
Ginger Hibiscus | Review of Boris and Sergey's Preposterous Improvisation Experiment at the Mimetic Festival
Ginger Hibiscus | Review of Boris and Sergey's Preposterous Improvisation Experiment at the Mimetic Festival
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02 Dec REVIEW: Boris and Sergey’s Preposterous Improvisation Experiment at the Mimetic Festival

For the uninitiated, Boris and Sergey are a delinquent duo of “puppet clown vagabonds,” two little leathery liabilities staffed by a group of master puppeteers, who speak for them, bicker with them, move them and compete with them. Together they’re responsible (or irresponsible) for an hour of utter ridiculousness, drifting until they find a tangent to seize and charge off along, head first, eyes closed, hoping for the best. And very often, stumbling across the best, or at the very least, a good deal of hilarity.

Boris and Sergey © Tigz Rice Studios 2012Brought to stage by physical theatre company Flabbergast Theatre, the show has a threadbare structure, just enough there to keep it ticking along and to incorporate different ideas and types of improvisation, but with holes deliberately left throughout to allow an undefined something to materialise in that gap. As the title suggests, that something is often preposterous, some kind of delicious yet ludicrous flight of fancy drawn from the sharp minds of the puppeteers.

It’s the quick-wittedness of the puppeteers, chiefly those playing the voices of Boris and Sergey, in responding to the audience and each other’s reactions, that make the show work. They manage to create arcs that emerge throughout the show, tiny details remembered from audience interactions or mishaps or sub-plots. But most of all, the amount of fun every puppeteer seems to have on stage is beyond infectious; watching them leaves you feeling that you want to be part of their club, and that hanging out with them would be more entertaining than anything you could possibly imagine. Because for an hour you’re part of the club, but it’s an hour where the mind lags behind the clock, and somehow the alarm is ringing but it’s not clear why.

The whole raison d’être for the puppeteers, though, is the puppets. Whilst visually unremarkable, they’re a strong step away from the idea of puppets on strings, or Punch-and-Judy style glove puppets; their design lets the puppeteers make incredibly lifelike movements, providing a masterclass in human body language and the limitations of movement. Through the puppets, Boris and Sergey are so well characterised that it’s possible to say that they are poles apart in terms of their behaviour and attitudes. Each seems to think autonomously and act independently, entirely separate from eachother – and from the puppeteers. Of course it’s an illusion, but it’s an incredibly powerful one, that shows something very right is happening.

In all, it’s a show that’s unlikely to change your life, but it guarantees to give you at least an hour of silly, smutty amusement, some genuine belly laughs and a generous portion of utter ridonculousness, all from a group of quick-witted, talented humans.

For more on Boris and Sergey from Flabbergast Theatre:
For more on Mimetic Festival:
Image credit: Claudine Quinn

Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
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