The All New (Mostly) Bumblinni Brothers Bigger and Better Show | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The All New (Mostly) Bumblinni Brothers Bigger and Better Show


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The All New (Mostly) Bumblinni Brothers Bigger and Better Show, Actors Gymnasium, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. Tony and Tony Bumblinni--actor-clowns Paul Kalina and Chuck Stubbings--are back with their second wild riot of a circus show. Designed for children and their parents, the program is a mix of pratfalls, bad puns and jokes, audience participation by adults, and acrobatic circus acts that should please just about anyone out for an entertaining evening. In the "Whipallini" the Bumblinnis use a bullwhip to pop large pear-shaped balloons, including one that's attached to an audience member's rear end. In the "Bungee-allini" one of the Tonys is slung practically over the audience. And in the "Flame-allini" they give a graceful exhibition of fire juggling.

The loose plot has something to do with coming up with a performance good enough to keep them from being deported under the You Ain't No Patriot Act. And the acrobatics are fun, but under Kevin Theis's direction what really keeps the show moving is the duo's playful improvisational approach. Their easy relationship with the audience is what enables them to persuade volunteers to embarrass themselves onstage--perhaps the most difficult of all their feats.

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