Max and Ivan: The End

In Max and Ivan: The End, the eponymous duo take you on a guided tour of the small town of Sudley-on-Sea, introducing you to all of the residents. The end result is a hilarious and fantastically well-crafted show.

Part sketch show, part comedy play, this show is sure to entertain.

Max and Ivan exaggerate the familiar village stereotypes to surreal and highly enjoyable effect: the parish council, the old man that everybody knows, and the ridiculously posh local MP. Likewise, they add a few absurdities of their own invention, such as the lonely village poet and the committee for the giant ball of twine. All of these characters are played by the duo with great skill and a wide variety of funny voices. There is never any confusion between characters as they beautifully create their own complex little world. We are introduced to the day-to-day life of Sudley, the dating scene, the graveyard and the museum all being particularly funny.

Nothing is taken too seriously - this isn’t topical satire, it’s very silly fun - but absolutely everything is written and performed to a very high standard. Each and every joke landed, from ridiculous and unexpected puns to Max’s spontaneous response to Ivan messing up his lines. There were some fantastic gags around audience participation which, while fairly intense for the audience member involved, worked well because they both come across as so likeable. Indeed, even their characters, while being stereotypes and caricatures, foster a fondness for them from the audience. These are loving parodies, poking gentle fun at variations of people that we’ve all met.

There are one or two moments where it is a little too clear what is going to happen next, but the payoff remains funny regardless and there are enough surprising moments to make up for it. Additionally, there are one or two gags - generally about sex - that seem a little lazier or throwaway than the rest, which are very often complex, containing callbacks to and hints towards jokes set up elsewhere in the show - I should stress that the sex jokes often fall into this latter category. These slightly lower-quality punchlines are however inconsequential in the grand scheme of The End. Part sketch show, part comedy play, this show is sure to entertain. 

Reviews by Laurie Kilmurry

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The Blurb

Welcome to Sudley-on-Sea. Take a look around. You don't have long. Seriously. Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award and Melbourne Barry Award nominees Max and Ivan (BBC One's W1A, BBC Radio 4's Casebook of Max and Ivan) return to the Edinburgh Fringe to tell an epic narrative sketch comedy tale about the hopes, fears and dreams of a doomed town. Directed by Tom Parry (Pappy's). 'Max and Ivan are the real deal' **** (Guardian). **** (Times). **** (Independent). **** (Time Out). **** ( 'Undoubtedly superstars of tomorrow' (GQ).