Yesterday, we took Spy and Q to see The Flying Karamazov Brothers in NYC.
Given the show’s name was 4Play, Spydad and Spymom previewed this YouTube video and a couple of reviews just to be certain it was kid friendly.
It was. Extremely.
Take a moment and go catch glimpse of these four men in kilts. I’ll wait.
It’s worth your time. Promise.
We had second row seats in a small theater down near NYU. Fortunately for Spy (and for whomever was supposed to sit there), the two seats in front of him were empty.
The show opened as the Brothers Karamozov (Pavel, Alexei, Zossima and Nikita) rhythmically drummed upon and then rhythmically destroyed a number of cardboard boxes. Spy was bouncing in his seat, laughing. As they walked from the stage, one wearing his box over his head, Spy turned to us with glee in his eyes. It was his kind of show.
Particularly since the performers encourage audience participation.
Spy doesn’t need much encouragement. He participated. Repeatedly.
As one brother juggles raw eggs a mere four feet away, Spy yells, “Throw it on the floor!”
“Not my job, kid,” Zossima replies, not missing a beat.
The crowd cracked up.
Pavel is lining up items of ‘extreme danger’ to be juggled for the finale. He holds up a torch and announces, “Item number…”
And in this pause for effect Spy yells, “TWO!”
“No, kid! Number FIVE,” Pavel says, walking away, rolling his eyes.
This was Q’s moment. The brothers ask to juggle improv items from the audience. Q tosses up his mohawk hat to join 9 other items. It’s not chosen. Instead, the brothers fling it back and forth wearing it as a crown, banging the stage with a hockey stick (another improv item) as they take turns playing Roman emperor.
What items were juggled? An apple pie, a stuffed cloth chicken and the hockey stick.
At one point, Spy is so excited, and getting so loud and so far out of his seat, that Spydad clamps his hand over Spy’s mouth and tries to haul him back into his chair (and off the kind lady to his right). The Brothers catch this and, in the middle of improv, all move as one to mock Spydad.
Three of them suddenly point to the lights, hopping up and down on stage and yelling.
One brother clamps his hand over another’s mouth, dragging him backward across the stage.
Nikita stopped hopping to look at Spydad, “Glad to see censorship is alive and well in America, dad.”
We, the audience, were warned that the next part was improv juggling and that pins would be dropped. If, we were instructed, they landed in the audience, we were to leave them where they lay. The Brothers, tossed, spun around and did all kinds of impressive tricks. And, yes, a few were dropped. One pin skittered off the stage and landed on the floor in the front row. The Brothers then began to argue with each other, insisting that they should get the pin back. An eleven year old boy in the front row near Spy was exhorted to return the pin. That kid refused to move.
Spy, in complete affinity with the Brothers, drops to the floor and, before Spydad could catch him, army crawls under the chair in front of him, retrieves the pin and pops up with it, waving it in the air.
“Oh, there it is! The chatty kid in the second row’s got it.”
“Throw it here kid!”
With no hesitation, Spy wings it back on stage.
“Thanks!” they all yell.
Spy is bouncing with glee.
Spymom and Spydad are relieved no one was injured.
At the end of the show, the people behind us tell us how much fun it was to have Spy in front of them, and the lady who sat next to Spy waves an amused goodbye. Spy is still bouncing with excitement after 90 minutes of juggling and improv comedy.
On the way out, we meet one of the brothers at the door as they said goodbye to their audience.
“He was the one in second row?” Alexei Karamazov asks.
Smiling down at Spy, Alexei says, “He was great. We loved him.”
Gleeful, Spy hops over to meet the other brothers where Spydad announces, “It’s Q and Spymom’s birthday today.”
One of the brothers yanks Q’s hat from his hand, pops it back on his head and begins to sing. And so our theater experience ended with a three-part “Happy Birthday” serenade.
We’d laughed so hard for 90 minutes our faces hurt.