Boris and Sergey are causing a ruckus every night at Pleasance Courtyard with their loveable appearance and filthy tongues. Gambling and swindling their way through the performance, it’s hard not to fall for the charming tricks that Flabbergast Theatre have thrown our way this Fringe.
My first encounter with Boris was on the Royal Mile, where he pinned me against a pillar of flyers; that is to say, I was pinned by his three unflappable puppeteers. Strangely I still found myself addressing the little leather creature that had wrangled his way onto my shoulder in the course of our conversation-despite the fact that he had no face.
This effect is perhaps what makes Boris and Sergey such a special experience: though there are six people on stage, your eyes will most often be drawn to the stars of the show, whose dancing and gyrating you’d be sorry to miss.
They’re a curious sight to see, something you might find in a wizened grandfather’s attic, but with the shady personas of backstreet swindlers. They tell us much of their ‘dark’ underworld of puppet poker and ladies of the night, though our only encounter with this is a botched game of cards. It’s an irresistible combination of child’s play and the seedy late night rendez-vous.
There‘s not much of a plot, nor is there any need for one; rather you could meet the pair in a pub and have them recount their misfortunes to you as they gently empty your pockets and steal your wedding ring. There is also a great deal of audience participation, considering that a cute puppet can get away with a lot more heckling than a man, no matter how lewd he/it may be.
Not only is the humour spot on, the skill of the six puppeteers is alone well worth the trip, as they together choreograph the movements of two ten inch men. The show wouldn’t be nearly so good without six sombre faces staring intently from the back.
I give Boris and Sergey five stars, which they will no doubt try to sell for 6.
Til 27 Aug (not 21), 11pm