Comedy review: Max and Ivan
Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: Max and Ivan: The Reunion at Pleasance Dome (Venue 23), reviewed by Jay Richardson
With their slickest, most intricately scripted hour to date, the talented Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez have delivered a less frenetic, less rigid spoof than in recent years, a warmer, more rounded show that is funny and touching in equal measure.
Focusing on the weedy, allergies-impaired Brian, invited to his school’s ten-year reunion, it is a chance for him to tell his adolescent crush Jessica how he feels about her, notwithstanding that she has her brash, successful boyfriend in tow. Around this core trio, there is a series of finely sketched supporting characters, from the geography teacher maintaining an erotically charged relationship with a former student, feuding former bandmates and the despairing Alan Jones, becoming increasingly unhinged when no-one seems to remember him.
Playing and seamlessly switching between all the roles, save for an audience mark they drag onstage (but acclaim rather than denigrate), the duo sustain a tight narrative but keep their performances loose, sending up their teen movie inspirations with affection.
At times the gag count dips slightly and occasionally The Reunion feels too polished and clearly signposted. But it’s testimony to the pair’s abilities that you end up rooting for the star-crossed couple.
Originally published in The Scotsman