Brighton Fringe 2012
Max and Ivan are young, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they are inexperienced. Their unique double act, honed over the last few has seen them sell out shows in theatres from Edinburgh right down to Brighton, and with good reason. They just get it.
An Ocean’s 11/Snatch inspired heist, Max and Ivan are Con artists is a pacy, plot-driven piece with a huge cast of characters (I lost count at around 25). They warn us that it’s their first official preview (and I spot them before the show outside the venue with a script), but if this is the show’s first outing, it bodes very well for their Edinburgh run. To say the dialogue is verbose would be an understatement, but the boys were nudging word-perfect, and they jump in and out of their trademark flashback scenes with focus and energy.
These two have found their niche as a story-telling, multi-character duo. In their last show, Max and Ivan are Holmes and Watson, they showed their skill at script-writing and physical comedy; this year they’ve got all that again and have added singing, audience participation and lasers (thousands of them… kinda). With no costumes and minimal props, the two leap around the stage and evoke all the characters with the tiniest gesture, tapping into the genre of the heist and exploiting its rich material, telling the story in their own distinct way. They have just the right amount of ad-lib to acknowledge if something goes awry, but not so much as to seem amateurish.
One of the things I love most about Max and Ivan is how very theatrical their work is. They understand the opportunities presented by live performance in tiny venues above backstreet pubs – they are not a wannabe TV act. Instead they take the tools available to them, acknowledge their limitations and work within them to create excellent comedy. And, when they do score a deal for a TV show (it’s only a matter of time, really) – they’ll use that medium in creative, refreshing and intelligent ways too. Personally, I can’t wait.