Family series at SUNY Fredonia offers up Vaudeville mayhem

Henrik Bothe and Woody Keppel are internationally renowned vaudevillians and veterans of film, television, radio and the stage. Under the stage name of Wells and Woodhead, they have performed for audiences on six continents – and they now return to unleash their antics at SUNY Fredonia’s Rockefeller Arts Center for the first time since 2009.

The Kaleidoscope Family Series presents “Masters of Mayhem: Wells and Woodhead” on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in Marvel Theatre. The show, which is about one hour in length, is recommended for children ages 6 and up and their parents and grandparents.

Wells, the “dapper Dane,” and Woodhead, the “bumbling fool,” promise to take audiences on a “fun-filled ride where anything joyous seems possible.”

Their show, “Masters of Mayhem,” is a character-driven amalgam of theater, music, comedy and juggling that visually demonstrates the power of cooperation between performers with vastly different dispositions.

One is outwardly calm while the other wound tighter than a spring. Together, they manage to get themselves into situations where something almost always seems to go wrong much to the amusement of all.

Bothe, fluent in four languages, is a Danish juggler with enormous dexterity and casual ease, while his partner, Keppel, weaves a tapestry of chaos, slapstick and “eclectic” music with the menacing uncertainty of a tornado.

They are both well versed in the style of the vaudeville performers of a century ago. At the same time, their performance has a modern edge to it as evidenced by the famous high-tech optical illusion “Neonman,” which never fails to wow an audience.

The duo’s appearances include the nationally televised Chinese Comedy Festival from Beijing, The HBO Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, “Le Plus Grande Cabaret Du Monde” (Europe’s top-rated TV show) and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Reserved seat tickets are available through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center at 673-3501 or online at fredonia.edu/tickets.

“Masters of Mayhem” is sponsored by First Niagara as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season. The Kaleidoscope Series is sponsored by the OBSERVER.