Max and Ivan: The End
Structurally precise and effortless-looking character narrative from former award nominees
This article is from 2015.
After their Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination two years ago, Max and Ivan are back with another rewarding, tightly structured, multi-character show. Set on the island of Sudley-on-Sea, we meet a few of its inhabitants: a children's writer back home to visit his distant father; an elderly man who loves his dog; a shy man on his first ever date, all played deftly by the duo. And when the island's nuclear plant threatens to explode, everyone needs to escape.
Just like their past shows, The End is skilfully written, with multiple character arcs tentacling out before neatly pulling back together. And, as ever, Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez slip in and out of their huge array of characters with deceptive ease: this is hard work that looks oh-so-easy.
But while there's a loveable story at the centre of The End, it feels like it's missing some of the winning charm of 2013's The Reunion. A few of the jokes are a little lazy: one sequence which switches between a slow-motion punch to the face and a rabid geriatric sexual encounter is exquisitely performed, but its comedy value doesn't live up to the choreographic skill.
Still, there's a lot to be impressed by in Max and Ivan, who some Fringe-goers might recognise from their recent turns in the BBC's W1A. And when it comes to structural precision, few shows will beat this one at the festival.
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 8.20pm, £10–£12.50 (£9–£11.50).