REVIEW: Max And Ivan at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

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Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez marked the fifth stop of their tour ‘The End’ with a welcome homecoming to Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal.

Part one consisted of a series of sketches that doubled as an introduction to the duo.

They jumped from the innuendo-filled exchanges of a geography teacher and student, to the hilarious messages of a clueless greetings card writer.

Despite feeling very much like the warm-up act, this did not detract from the pair’s ability to hit every punchline with perfect comic timing.

But the main event was part two, which took the audience to the fictional town of Sudley-on-Sea, where nuclear disaster is imminent.

With the exception of some sporting audience participation, Max and Ivan fearlessly take on the role of every character.

The show is pacey and snappy, switching between characters and locations so often that we are reliant on the impressive acting, assisted by well-timed lighting effects, to keep track of the action. It’s a bold and risky concept, but judging by the raucous laughter that ensued throughout (particularly during a certain helicopter scene), it is a risk that paid off.

At the show’s climax, the narratives of all the characters are neatly tied up in a way that is both satisfying and comical, a testament to the show’s sharply written script.

Max and Ivan: The End is bonkers, brave and – above all – brilliant.