[ATTENDED: February 11, 2012] Aga-Boom
This past weekend, my family attended Aga-Boom, a “theatre of physical comedy and circus arts.” It was incredible, and it was hard to believe that this was performed at the Raritan Valley Community College theater, which is nice and all, but seems small potatoes for a troupe that was part of Cirque de Soleil and which has been in Vegas and on Broadway.
Aga-Boom‘s show is perfect for all ages–my kids loved it, but I may have laughed more than they did. There are three clowns, an older woman, a goofy “large” clown and a kind of morose alien-looking clown. None of these are you typical “clown make-up” type of clowns. In fact, I found the lady clown’s make up to be amazing–astonishingly emotive and expressive. And the morose clown was all white face with a completely fake nose and a simple red frown line for a mouth and yet wow, they could convey everything.
There are several set pieces. The first is a joke about paper getting stuck to the lady clown. It’s a good introduction to the paper conceit that runs through the show (the stage “curtain” is a large sheet of paper! It morphs into this amusing/intimidating section where the morose clown (dressed like an astronaut with (a wonderful detail) a water cooler bottle on his head as a space helmet–is mad because the woman clown accidentally launched his ship into space.
Then comes the goofy clown who does some amazing juggling with a suitcase. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Audience participation comes into play in three skits. In the highlight, two strangers are pulled up on stage to act in a “movie” (the camera is a bottle of Tide with a funnel on the end). They are instructed (with no words) how to act in the movie. And the end is a punchline that is hilarious.
The “skits” continue in this vein, only growing more and more outrageous. The paper curtain comes to great use when one of the clowns finds a dollar bill (the joke is simple but done very effectively) and they run through the paper chasing each other (like a great Looney Tunes skit). The juggling clown brings out what appears to be toilet paper rolls on strings and that routine ends with a streamer display like in rhythmic gymnastics events.
But by far the most amazing spectacle is the end. It begins with confetti blowing into the audience. Then balloons come out, too. And since everything they do grows bigger and bigger, next there are larger balloons and then really big balloons and larger and larger pieces of paper. Even a roll of toilet paper flung into the air by a leaf blower! Kids are running in the aisles to collect the paper and the clowns are still performing and the balloons are bouncing and it is utter pandemonium. And everyone loved it.
At the end of the show, the three clowns were waiting in the lobby and we got a picture with them and they were very nice indeed.
The stars of Aga-Boom are Dimitri Bogatirev (who bears a striking resemblance to Bill Murray) as the baggy pants clown, Iryna Ivanytska as the female clown, and Valery Slemzin as the white-faced clown. Dimitri and Iryna are from the Ukraine (Iryna graduated from Kiev’s College of Variety and Circus Arts (love it!) and are married (we imagine their son Anton is constantly entertained at home). Valery is from Russia and at 16 achieved the status of “Master of Sport USSR.” All three have appeared in Cirque de Soleil’s “O.”
And just to get a feel for what’s going on, check out this video (they didn’t do the person dressed in black with the mask at our show).
I told Sarah that I would have gone back for the evening performance even though I knew it was exactly the same. If they come to a theater near you, don’t miss it.