This is character comedy at its finest. Every year Max & Ivan become one of the most highly recommended comedy shows, and with good reason. In
This hour of offbeat puns and oddball characters is one of the treats of the Fringe.
The Reunion is taking place at an awful school disco. The plot of the hour is told through a series of flashbacks to the character's school days, juxtaposing with their current careers and relationships. Between them, Max & Ivan play all the characters meeting each other again, metamorphosing at a blink into the new personalities. The standout character of the show has to be Ivan’s protagonist, Brian – a fundamentally gentle man who is allergic to absolutely everything. We see him try to summon the courage to confess to the love of his life – all while avoiding anything that might kill him (like gluten, alcohol, cotton, cotton mixes, or bullets). I've never been more invested in wanting a character to have a happy ending, let alone a character in sketch comedy.
Fans of the duo may have seen this show already last year. If not live, they may instead have already watched an adaptation of The Reunion, which was made into a Channel 4 short. Though recycling some of the premises and gags, it couldn't be more different to see it live. The Fringe hour brings the joy of their ad libs, audience participation, and, most importantly, seeing the two performers transform spontaneously into the entire cast. These weird characters are at once utterly implausible and instantly familiar: Ivan as a sassy cloakroom supervisor has the audience in stitches, and Max as both the love interest and her obnoxious boyfriend creates a brilliant double act all by himself. It is testament to Max & Ivan’s contagious charm that the chosen audience member is delighted to fully commit to the role assigned to him, and revels in the silliness of an air guitar solo battle. The tech is slick and fun too, perfectly complementing the style of the show by snapping between flashbacks, cheesy pinks, and a fabulous accompaniment to a teenage pop band. Their running jokes and set piece sketches are equally entertaining, and the well-plotted story has us laughing, clapping, and awwing in abundance.
This hour of offbeat puns and oddball characters is one of the treats of the Fringe. Go and enjoy. I will wear my two ‘I Love Max’ badges with pride (sorry Ivan).