REVIEW – Boris & Sergey’s Astonishing Freakatorium

*****

Almost as rude, and even freakier than ever! The two favourite ruthless leather-face puppets are back, this time under the musty arches of George IV’s Bridge. Boris and Sergey still know how to kill and splatter without having control of their own hands, and how to argue, swear and keep their astonished audience enthralled from start to finish without mouths and tongues of their own to articulate.

In an ideal puppetry world, the puppeteers and the puppets form a unity in which the lipless face of the puppet speaks the words of the headless master who is utterly in the background. Not so here. With Boris and Sergey, the puppeteers are not headless and hidden, but very real and present, and there are three of them per puppet, moving head, arms, legs. Yet, the little plain leather figures beam with personality, with expression und subtleness. No one in the audience notices the hands that move them. The angle of head on shoulders, the helplessness in which wooden shoulders are shrugged, the timid steps towards each other – all that is enough to send the audience off in fits of laughter, or to make them sigh and draw the glitter of tears to their eyes.

During the Freakatorium, a proper Victorian freaks how, the sequence of improvised storytelling, cockfights, séance and frequent killing of protagonists is thoroughly incoherent, yet forms a complete unity – another paradox Boris and Sergey manage to create! Ghosts guide the audience into the performance, and the souls of all those who passed away during it out. Audience members are chosen to participate through the eerie distribution of Tarot cards. And the two puppets freely and frankly borrow items to play their dirty jokes with – they know very well that no one will mind.

The location was ideal for the kind of performance offered to the audience, and the surroundings arriving at and leaving from the show complimented a freaky experience.

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