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LA Theater Review


Vladimir Levitansky calls his style of performance "Bul'Artoh," which is a combination of clowning, commedia dell'arte, buffoonery, and Butoh. Given that he invented the amalgam, it's not possible to say whether his 70-minute unspoken performance is a good example of Bul'Artoh. But Fancy, at times, is mildly amusing. It's difficult to know how much input came from co-writer and director Allyson Kulavis, but she should shoulder some of the blame for Levitansky's lack of focus and frequent slip-ups during several bits of physical comedy. There is little original material, but a sharper performance and a faster pace would have greatly improved the show.

Fancy is wordless, with a couple of brief exceptions, and it doesn't have a plot as much as it has a situation. Levitansky, dressed in coveralls and subdued clown makeup, enters an office to clean. Instead he dances, daydreams, and makes a mess. When he notices there is an audience watching him, he interacts with several people. He chastises a group of women for being late--even re-enacting in double time everything they missed. He sits on laps. He gives presents. And he includes audience members for a couple of vignettes.

He has decent skills as a dancer and a mime. His charisma is engaging, and he is adept at winning an audience's cheers. But his actions lack the crispness and spontaneity needed to make them funny. Too many dropped props and clashes with light and sound cues give a feeling that everything is thrown together at the last minute. With the exception of the surprisingly wonderful climax, the production contains the same clowning we regularly witness at domestic and European circuses. It's his likeability alone that keeps the piece afloat.

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