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Kharmful Charms of Daniil Kharms

cabaret & variety · artel · Ages 16+ · United States

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Review by CARLY D. WECKSTEIN

June 25, 2014 certified reviewer
tagged as: clown · Russian · absurd · weird · magical · Beautiful · live music

My overall impression

What a weird, delightful, magical show! I so thoroughly enjoyed it.

The cast is enormously talented, a true ensemble, feeding off each others’ energy, morphing from character to character.

The live music is INCREDIBLE! It touched me on such a vicersal level, and was an integral part of the performance. It really gave this show a full-bodied depth and beauty.

My favorite part was the use of simple stage magic. No fancy special effects, but through creative theatre, so many truly magical moments were manifested.

I did not feel that I needed any background on Daniil Kharms (on whose absurd short stories this piece is based) to enjoy and engage with the show.

That being said, a part of me wished for a wee bit more narrative. I loved the stories and their renditions, but I sometimes wanted some sort of through-line to hold onto as I watched. Perhaps a few key themes, lifted from the stories, might serve in shaping the show to give it a great unity of story. I’d love to see this again, tweaked slightly through the lens of a few specific themes that come up in these stories and tie them all together.
But then there also is a great beauty in the absurdity and randomness – and the fact that it made me conscious of desiring a “why”, made me ask myself why I needed a “why” in the first place. Why couldn’t I just relax and enjoy the experience of each beautiful piece unfolding with no rhyme or rhythm? (Because I certainly did enjoy every moment!)Oftentimes life unfolds with seeming randomness and total absurdity, and it keeps going and changing whether we have a “why” or not. And perhaps that is the “why” of this particular piece.

I also particularly enjoyed that there were two pieces about pussy juices. If that is not reason enough to go, I don’t know what is.

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