Boris & Sergey: Preposterous Improvisation Experiment
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 10th Aug 2016
  • |
  • ★★★

Improv comedy is a tricky beast - when it’s good, it’s very, very good; when it’s bad, it’s pointless. There’s also a massive overabundance of improv acts around this year - 81 at last count - so it’s strange to see an established act, with a proven history of strong writing, willingly enter this maelstrom.

A pure improv performance by the veteran vinyl vaudevillians

This, however, is exactly what Boris & Sergey: Preposterous Improvisation Experiment is - a pure improv performance by the veteran vinyl vaudevillians, based solely on audience suggestions. But does it work?

Sort of. There’s no denying that Flabbergast are talented puppeteers and, after four years working with Boris and Sergey, they’ve got the physicality and flexibility of the puppets down pat. And there were some nice moments - Boris’s ongoing romance with a woman in the front row, a pitched wand vs. magic-umbrella-shield battle and the best impression of a cat and a cucumber I’ve see in a long time. My issue was that these moments were surrounded by a base rumble of swearing and dick jokes which, had they been told by human protagonists, wouldn’t really have been funny. It’s a frustrating problem which could have been solved by having even a simple basic plot to fall back on while waiting for inspiration to come.

With puppet improv, Boris and Sergey may be trying an interesting combination but, in doing both genres, it fails to do justice to the company’s obviously high capabilities. As a paying customer, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out - it’s just hard to shake the feeling that a better show would have resulted if the performers had realised this too.

Reviews by Tom King

Summerhall

A Fortunate Man

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

★★★
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Jess Robinson: No Filter

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Award-winning darlings of the Fringe and recipients of no less than 15 five-star reviews, Boris & Sergey present for your viewing pleasure one hour of entirely unscripted improvised hilarity. Who needs rehearsals when you’re this funny? No tricks, no plans, two puppets, six puppeteers and an audience. 'Responsible (or irresponsible) for an hour of utter ridiculousness, drifting until they find a tangent to seize and charge off along, head first, eyes closed, hoping for the best. And very often stumbling across the best, or at the very least, a good deal of hilarity’ (GingerHibiscus.com).