Max Paton : Dark Web Mystery Box

By Colin Flaherty

Max Paton created a high energy, fast paced sketch show as part of MICF this year. As with any sketch show the quality varied wildly but Paton’s enthusiasm was so infectious that nobody really cared. We got plenty of visual puns, deliberately bad jokes with lame explanations and wonderfully creative wacky costumes.

There was an overall plot involving creating YouTube content and he explored a lot of internet culture covering topics such as Copyright flagging, inappropriate content and media ownership. The rest of the material didn’t always make complete sense but the energetic Paton ploughed on regardless, dragging the happily punch drunk audience with him. He described the show as a “gloriously unfiltered braingasm”, so it turns out this was exactly what it said on the tin.

Paton was a bundle of energy as he bounced around the tiny stage. Little space was left between scenes, leaving no time for the audience to catch their breath let alone applaud. He revved up the crowd, subjected us to bouncy songs in a sing-song-talk style (ala Aunty Donna) and inhabited various wacky characters. Paton kept the performance quite loose, rough and ready even though he has been involved with various on line sketch projects so this isn’t his first rodeo. It gave the performance a sense of danger that added a special thrill.

The sound design was impressive with sound effects punctuating the action and voices providing characters for Paton to interact with. He had a warehouse full of props on stage which were used in every sketch, none of that miming malarkey!

Some mildly embarrassing audience participation took place and the good humoured punters took it in their stride. The interactions were gentle enough to put the victim at ease once they got over the initial timidness. He’s not the slickest improviser in the world but the shambolic nature of the performance was fun.

A brilliantly silly show, Dark Web Mystery Box was a delight. You are sure to enjoy being sucked into Max’s crazy online world.

Dark Web Mystery Box is on at The Motley Bauhaus until March 31