This is a puppet-show like no other. Boris and Sergey’s One Man Extravaganza explores the lives of two brothers who, after achieving fame during the golden years of Hollywood, decide to go their separate ways, leading the audience on an emotional roller-coaster. While one thrives, the other suffers in hysterically tragic ways, before they ultimately realise they were better off together.

The protagonists, two tiny faceless, leather-bodied creatures from the Balkans, come to live thanks to the support of their amazing puppeteers. Both beautifully choreographed and creatively animated, the enchanting act utilises everything possible to keep the illusion alive: from smoke and lighting, to audience participation and regularly breaking the fourth-wall, they do it all without losing their charm or character. In addition to their interaction with the audience, the Balkan brothers also have exchanges with the puppeteers throughout the show, a feat that increases the illusion of life in these leathery dolls, since the puppeteers are also characters crucial to the story.

Some of the gags are heavily dependant on the audience’s response which, combined with a script that feels almost improvised, runs the risk of making the audience feel detached and sceptical. However, Boris and Sergey (and their puppeteers) somehow manage to hold the illusion throughout and keep the audience onside. The act is, however, hindered by the venue, which fails to prevent the outside noise from reaching the stage. This almost interrupted the flow of the act, but credit goes to the performers who exploited the interruption and used it to their advantage.

Boris and Sergey’s One Man Extravaganza serves up one of the most creative forms of storytelling this Fringe, and is one of my favourite shows of the year.

Words: Mariana Mercado   

Boris and Sergey’s One-Man-Extravaganza, Assembly George Square Theatre, Aug 18-27, 9.25pm

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