Max and Ivan Are Holmes and Watson
  • By Beth Kahn
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  • 17th Aug 2011
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  • ★★★★★

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Robert Downey Junior and Jude Law. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. And now... Max and Ivan. Sherlock Holmes may be the most-portrayed movie character of all time, but that hasn't stopped this turbo-charged double-act from breathing fresh life into the tale, with spectacular results. Their ambitious take on the maverick detective sees the two performers portray a cast of hundreds, switching seamlessly between a dizzying array of characters, animals, and inanimate objects.In this slick and high-octane hour, the duo race through a rich and suspenseful saga of organised crime, intrigue and betrayal, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, and slow-motion action sequences. Such a frenetic pace and complex narrative could easily be confusing, but their tight choreography and precise characterisation means they can jump from one bizarre scenario to another in the blink of an eye, and confidently take the audience with them. A particularly outstanding set piece sees them portray every character in a bar brawl that descends into a Mexican stand-off between two Chicago gangsters and their molls. It has to be seen to be believed.Not only is this show very accomplished, it is, more importantly, brilliantly funny, with punchy writing and original ideas that blend satire, surrealism, and slapstick to great comic effect, while barely pausing for breath. This is as good as sketch comedy gets.

The Blurb

History's greatest detective tackles Chicago's murky underworld in his final thrilling escapade, recently discovered by award-winning comedy duo Max and Ivan (Time Out Critics Choice). A prohibition-era tale of revenge, whiskey and javelins.