When I was a teen-ager, I had a crazy ex-boyfriend my friends and I dubbed “The Lunatic.” (I would have used “maniac,” but I had already bestowed that moniker on my sister’s then-boyfriend, who now, as her husband, we refer to as the more appropriate “Satan.”) But now that I’ve seen the work of Tomáš Kubínek, who bills himself as a “Certified Lunatic,” I realize that my insane ex was not even close to worthy of that title!

KubinekShoesByBruceLeseurWEB[1]As many of you know, I was in a circus when I was younger, but even then, I never saw anything like what I witnessed on the stage of Theatre Raymond Kabbaz over the week-end! There was comedy, magic, improv, and stunts, all performed by just one lithe man, whose antics are absurd, in the best way. He’s a circus unto himself! There was even a minute or two of old-timey opera! What more could an audience want from an eighty-five minute entertainment?!

The audience was very lucky to see it there, one of my favorite theatres in town, because every sightline is wonderful. No one missed even one nuance. This theatre continues to bring us the most innovative entertainment at all times, so this was indeed the perfect venue for Tomáš’ crazy and delightful laugh-filled show. (And Mr. X pointed-out how comfortable the seats are, too.)

In case you’re not familiar with the place, TRK is a French theatre, (even though I just realized that I’ve never actually seen anything there in that language!) But when the Theatre Director, Pierre Leloup, was introducing this show, he said he was at a loss of just how to characterize it. When a Frenchman can’t describe an entity, you know it’s something really different!

defies explanation, but since I must try, for the sake of this review, I’ll just say that he’s part illusionist, part storyteller, part acrobat, and part daredevil. And he’s one hundred percent entertaining! Even when things went a tad wrong that night, he was amusing. One stunt actually did go awry on the first try, but I just assumed that it was part of the show until Mr. X broke it down for me.

I really didn’t know what to expect going in, but Tomáš’ title, “Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible,” intrigued me. For some reason, from the very few images of the show that I had seen beforehand, I thought that it was going to be all visuals, with no talking. But I was dead wrong. Tomáš had patter going for most of the time, and it was all charming. And hilarious. We laughed the whole time. Even the kids in the audience got his crazy humor.

The only time we weren’t laughing was when we were gasping in awe at a stunt he pulled that’s like no other I have ever seen. I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who will see this show in the future, but it involved doing unbelievable physical moves while holding a glass of wine on his forehead and…playing the ukulele…behind his back! That one really blew my mind. Tomáš is far from a spring chicken, but he’s more agile than people half his age!

The zaniness of Tomáš Kubínek. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The zaniness of Tomáš Kubínek. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Actually, Mr. X said the show had many things he’d never seen before, (beginning with some unusual vocal noises right off the top,) an assessment with which I whole-heartedly concur. And even more interesting is that we could not even attempt to guess what he was going to do next. It all blended seamlessly from mime into outright tomfoolery into skillful acrobatics into magic. So, when he climbed into the audience Roberto Benigni-style, I didn’t know if he was going to wind-up dancing on our heads. (No worries–he didn’t. But he did wind-up scaling one guy’s thighs a bit later on. Don’t ask.)

Tomáš Kubínek is creative, ageless, and a true master of his craft. And a laugh riot. His website is funny, as well! You have got to read his list of where he’s played in the past in the “Biography” section on there. (The link is at the bottom of this review.)

Mr. X was particularly taken with Tomáš’ colorful stories of his impoverished youth. Even after researching him when we got home, I still don’t know if those tales are fanciful or true.  Or a combo.  But I have a feeling that they are based at least somewhat in fact.

My only tiny complaint with the whole shebang is that Tomáš played with his hair more than I used to do on my television show, which I did not think possible. Now I see why it annoyed my viewers so much. The first time or two, when he used the outcome of rearranging his top tresses for effect, it was amusing, but after that, it just took my attention away from the real action too often. It made my mind wander to wondering about his age, what he looked like with more hair, and why he doesn’t just cut it so that it will stand up when that’s what he’s going for. But that was the only negative to the entire show. On the other hand, if touching his hair is what gives Tomáš his amazing superpowers, then so be it.

My last note on the evening, for those of you who were there and witnessed this, is that Tomáš wasn’t even aware that he had an opening act at TRK—it was Mr. X’s “animated fireplace” Christmas sweater! The assemblage loved it, so everyone was already in a great mood going in. (We had come directly from a Christmas party that night, with no time to change, which turned-out to be a good thing.)

Maybe the sweater will make a repeat performance this Wednesday if we have the time to attend the next presentation at Theatre Raymond Kabbaz—a puppet show called The Toad Prince, which looks enchanting. If it’s like the rest of this theatre’s fare, none of us will want to miss it!


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