Max And Ivan: The End | Review by Paul Fleckney
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Max And Ivan: The End

Note: This review is from 2015

Review by Paul Fleckney

Max And Ivan ooze class these days. Their 2013 show The Reunion was deservedly nominated for the Foster's award, having managed to successfully locate the audience’s funny bones and heartstrings.

They have similar intentions with their new show, The End, for which they have again teamed up with Pappy’s jack-in-a-box Tom Parry as director. It’s a winning formula, as Max And Ivan have produced another wonderful, if flawed, show of comic storytelling.

Fictional seaside town Sudley-on-Sea is the setting, and the locals – all played by M&I – are plunged into panic by a cock-up at the opening of the nuclear processing plant. The impending disaster works miracles for one sad old couple, while Mr Russell just wants to stay at home with his dog, Rocket, and see out his last few hours.

The most central characters, a young man called Clive who is a children’s author who cannot get a kind word out of his old-school dad, come to the fore – though not enough for my liking. Max And Ivan are have to tend to so many characters that it lacks a protagonist to really grasp on to for a whole journey, and Clive and his dad are the two best contenders. As a result, we have to spread our affections across too many people for the show to land squarely.

I think the show suffers under its own ambition. It has the scope of a feature film, and would work better as a 90-minute touring show that a 60-minute Edinburgh one. By the time they set everyone up, and introduce the nuclear snafus, it’s not long before the many finales have to begin, and that takes some time in order for everyone to have their satisfying conclusion.

Max and Ivan are pathos merchants, and it’s a slight shame that, on that front, they bite off more than they can reasonably chew in 60 minutes. But it’s a hugely enjoyable show along the way, their versatility as comic actors and ability as joke writers shining through. They have a fondness for cutting away to a Family Guy-rescue micro-scene, and they litter the show with them, without ever compromising the main thread or over-loading the show. Similarly, the story is packed with great little gags, both visual and verbal.

Despite its faults, The End comes highly recommended, and is a show that few other acts on the Fringe could have come close to pulling off.

Review date: 26 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney
Reviewed at: Pleasance Dome

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