Max and Ivan: Televisionaries

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

If you want a format that can embrace just about any sketch you can think of, chose a TV parody. There’s nothing that you can’t frame as a fictional programme, and slot in next to easy spoofs of readily derided adverts and existing broadcast output.

Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez’s show has its peaks and troughs, taking obvious targets alongside more inventive ideas, but you can’t deny it’s all done with an impressive style. The black-and-white, marker-pen animation by Russell Sassoon that accompany the skits lends the hour a distinctive visual feel, and the pair are such talented and enthusiastic performers that they can’t help put raise the audience’s spirits. Even in the sparsely-attended show Chortle saw, the consummately professional duo gave it their all.

The range of instant characters they bring to life is impressive, and not only are they versatile with a useful range of accents and emotions, they can hold a tune, too – giving a spirited rap about the ‘credit crunk’, posing as a dodgy mariachi duo, or belting out a musical theatre-style showstopper about two Nuts-reading lads planning a bawdy getaway.

We can probably live without further piss-takes of pretentious perfume ads or chaste costume dramas, while their sneer at Horne and Corden, though well-deserved, is as obvious as the original… though thankfully a lot shorter.

But there are also more impressive skits: The Mario Brothers made into a grittily overwrought, New York drama, the spoof of those tackily hyperactive late-night phone-in quizzes, or the painful tedium of the latest Sky Sports acquisition that’s reminiscent of the staring contest that was once a running gag on Big Train are all executed with aplomb.

The sharply produced show is well paced, too, with brisk one-liners interspersed with more complex pieces, so the time just flies by in the company of these two skilled entertainers.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Brighton Fringe, May 2009

Review date: 1 Jan 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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