Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Chris Bennion

The Flying Karamazov Brothers attempt to explain the creation and meaning of the universe in their touring production L’ Universe (pronounced Looneyverse) now playing at Berkeley’s Roda Theatre. While their theories are profound, chaotic and precariously balanced between science and madness, they are funny and, when applied to movement and music, quite beautiful.

“In the beginning there was nothing. And the supreme being – Diana Ross – said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was still nothing. But at least you could see.” And for this group of mad jugglers seeing is the most important ingredient that keeps them moving through the space-time continuum. And it’s this movement, commingling juggling and music, which produces an entertaining synergy of hi-tech performances proving that “no matter what you’re doing at any moment you’re really juggling.”

If this review is boggling you’re mind, have no fear, The Flying Karamazov Brothers are here, and while their scientific theories are at times as mind boggling as this review, their musical juggling will provide you with a variety of fun entertainment that you’re entire family can enjoy. Some of the highlights of their performance include a variety of hi-tech devices developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab which allow the Karamazovs to virtually juggle the universe, including the earth and the sun and to don special suits which allows them to play music through physical movement on the stage.

But one of their most beautiful pieces of musical juggling is very low-tech, making use of the very old invention of a pendulum. Several large bells sounding like ancient Tibetan prayer bells are suspended from pendulums swinging at chaotic intervals across the entire stage. While the Karamazovs juggle their bodies between the bells, they play them with the gentle tap of a hammer transforming chaos into a semblance of order, which spiritually enriches the audience with some very heavenly sounds.

For tickets to this current production call (510) 647-2949. For more touring information visit www.fkb.com.

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