Boris and Sergey: Preposterous Improvisation Experiment review, Omnitorium, Edinburgh – ‘clutching at straws’
For the uninitiated, Boris and Sergey are a couple of Eastern European puppets, operated loosely in the bunraku tradition. Simple, expressionless, articulated figures are given life and character through the manipulation of three puppeteers each, including one who provides the voice. Having made a splash in 2012 with their Vaudevillian Adventure, it’s understandable that theatre company Flabbergasted should bring them back, but this is not the vehicle.
Boris and Sergey’s Preposterous Improvisation Experiment is not just preposterous, it’s also ill-conceived. Improvisation requires speed, invention and engagement with an audience, all of which are slow to emerge in this production and while the bantering puppets are amusing, it is soon evident that without a script and proper sound cues, the concept falls apart.
As the hour drags by it becomes more and more apparent that this experiment doesn’t work and that Flabbergasted is flogging a dead horse with the idea. It is interesting to see the operators at work, however, and gauging the level of telepathy involved in animating the puppets through the series of peculiar adventures suggested by the audience.
With a decent script in place all you can see are Boris and Sergey, but here all you can see is six puppeteers clutching as straws.
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