Balkan bad boys set for Fringe adventure

Nov 29, 2013

Foul-mouthed bad-boy Balkan puppets with a penchant for gambling, drugs, malarkey, molestation and mirth … it doesn’t get much more Fringe than that.

After winning a slew of five-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe and getting nominated for a London Cabaret Award, England’s Flabbergast Theatre is now preparing to bring its madcap show Boris & Sergey’s Vaudevillian Adventure to the 2014 Adelaide Fringe, which launched its program this morning.

According to the official website, one audience member said an evening with Boris and Sergey left them feeling “like I’ve been stroked by Satan and nuzzled by God at the same time.”

So, InDaily asks Flabbergast artistic director Henry Maynard, just how twisted is this show?

Who are Boris and Sergey?

Boris & Sergey are puppetry’s Balkan bad-boys; simply the greatest vaudevillian double act ever conceived for the small stage. At just over 50cm tall, the brothers work together as a clown double act. Sergey would like to star in serious tragic drama, whereas Boris would just like to meet Skippy the bush kangaroo. With a penchant for gambling, drugs, casual violence and the wilder side of life, they have been travelling across the globe, scamming and cheating their way from place to place, leaving a trail of destruction and confusion.

Where does their adventure take them and is it really safe to tag along?

Their adventure takes them through the presentation of some vaudevillian/music-hall skits and turns, gives a little glimpse of their early beginnings, allows them to attempt a botched hustle of the audience and leads them ultimately to their own destruction through greed and avarice … it’s safe, after a fashion, but there is no fourth wall. We believe wholeheartedly in a collaborative experience with our audiences.

The press notes mention “riotous exploits, malarkey, molestation and mirth” for “discerningly twisted adult audiences” – just how twisted and filthy is this show?

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The boys are not shy in their use of language, violence or sex. Boris is likely to molest at least one member of the audience every night, but he is roguishly charming and has never had a complaint yet. The show is aimed at a more liberal and accepting audience … if you are easily offended or uptight, this may be one to avoid. But having said that, it is all done with a sense of fun.

Tell us a little bit about Bunraku and why you’ve chosen to use this type of puppetry?

Bunraku is a style of puppetry that uses three puppeteers to operate a humanoid puppet with someone doing the head and left hand, someone on the right hand and back, and another on the feet. It originated in Japan and the tradition over there is ancient. While we have appropriated the style, we have left out some of the more limiting aspects of the practice. We have found that the style allows for a fantastically detailed movement and a unique opportunity to improvise collaboratively with fellow puppeteers, which adds a richness to the quality of the movement.

Why should Adelaide audiences include Boris & Sergey’s Vaudevillian Adventure on their Fringe calendar?

You will laugh! You will cry! There will be no dry seat in the house … but that may be something to do with Boris. It is unique and we guarantee you will have a great time. we were the highest-rated show of the Edinburgh Fringe in 2012 for three weeks out of 3200 other shows, and have received eight 5-star, three 4-star, and one 1-star review, but most importantly our audiences seem to love it. Plus, if you don’t include them Boris & Sergey will come to your house and swap your Vegemite for Marmite … you have been warned.

Boris & Sergey’s Vaudevillian Adventure will be at Gluttony in Rymill Park from February 14 until March 15. The full Adelaide Fringe program is now online.


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