Max and Ivan – The End

By  Hannah Frazer Max and Ivan

This quick witted duo Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez are simply put, masters of Sketch narrative. They take you through the lives of some of the more peculiar members of the small British town of Sudley-on-Sea. We arrive in Sudley on its darkest day yet, its nuclear power plant is about to cause permanent destruction to the town and whoever remains in it. Who will be left behind and who will survive?

Max and Ivan’s ability to shape shift between several different characters is something quite remarkable. The End is such a fast paced show, that between laughs you are left in awe sitting and wondering, how on earth are they doing this? Such detailed intertwining stories, one slip up and things could so easily unravel. But they don’t! Ivan’s failed attempt at whistling is as much ‘error’ that occurs.

Fast becoming audience favourites at the festival over the past few years, it is not hard to see why people keep coming back for more. They are not only talented comedians, but extraordinary story tellers. They have a great ability to create an unbelievably believable world, where no one questions or blinks when they jump seamlessly from one character to another. These two brits are wild, crazy and uninhibited but also bring relatability and likability to some unusual and generally unlikable characters. Unpredictable, as the story reaches its crescendo, the anticipation to see what is going to happen to all these characters intensifies. If you take a moment to check you will realise you are literally on the edge of your seat.

Even with such a careful and well-crafted script Max and Ivan like to allow room for them to be challenged, by bringing an unsuspecting audience member into the mix each night. This allows them a little more room to play, but also adding space for some fresh laughs and excitement for them as well each night.
You leave with not much else to say other! You may just need to go grab a post-show drink and de brief.

Max and Ivan – The End is on at  Victoria Hotel

For information and bookings go to the MICF website:

Class Clowns 2014

By Noel Kelso

Everybody remembers the class clown in their year at school. The one person who was always messing about and making people laugh.

Now in its 19th year, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s own Class Clowns education programme takes those kids from the back of the class, gives them some workshops with professional comedians such as Kate McLennan, Danny McGinley (himself a former winner) and Aunty Donna, and places them front and centre on stage before a packed audience at the Capitol theatre in Melbourne.

The afternoon commences with our hosts Ronny Cheung and Luke McGregor – the unlikeliest double-act in comedy – arriving on stage and warming-up the audience with their very different performance styles. This got the audience laughing and opened them up for the young acts to follow.

Thirteen acts from all across Australia stepped on stage to entertain and delight those in the room. The audience laughed along to gags about school trips, teacher’s foibles, solutions to Melboune’s traffic problems and teenage surliness. It was two hours of joy from start to finish.

As the judges deliberated their decision the room was kept laughing by special guests Demi Lardner, RAW comedy winner 2013, and British sketch duo Max and Ivan. Their bizarre take on a botched bank robbery was effortlessly funny and their air guitar contest, which recruited an audience member to help out, was inspired lunacy which had the room roaring with laughter.

It was then time for the big moment and McGregor and Cheung led all of the young performers back onto the stage as they announced the winner and three runners-up as decided by the judging panel which included comedians Sara Pascoe, Dave Callan, Sammy J and Melbourne International Comedy Festival Director, Susan Provan.

The three runners-up were Mabita Makwaza from Sacred Heart College in South Australia whose material was both funny and socially aware; Jack Keenan from St Leonards College in Victoria whose routine was energetic and surprisingly mature for someone of fourteen, and Grace Bruxner from Darwin High School in Northern Territory, whose lampooning of the stereotypical surly Goth teen was sharply observed and laugh-out-loud funny.

The winner of the competition was 14 year old Gregor Tarrant from Wodonga Middle Years’ College in Victoria, whose elastic-limbed routine combined physical comedy and great gags to fine effect and had the audience rolling about with laughter.

Hopefully we will see more of these young comics in the future and they will continue their comedic endeavours further.

Heats will begin for 2015 later in the year.

Max & Ivan : The Reunion

By Alanta Colley

Max and Ivan are the class of 2004, thrust mercilessly into the same room again after ten years of regrets, grudges and lost memories at their reunion. This critically acclaimed pair from the UK wowed audiences at last year’s MICF, walking away with a Barry nomination as well as a Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination in 2013.

The audience furiously held on for dear life as we simultaneously encountered the class of 2004 in 2004 and 2014. The story spirals ever closer to the precarious edge of chaos as multiple characters become ever more entangled, undergo flash backs, confrontations, doubts, glories, and seek retribution. A cast of at least twenty exquisite characters are played by Max and Ivan, leaping erratically from one character to the next and back again. The encounters become ever more crazy and hilarious ’til two characters played by the same man enact a marriage proposal.

We meet the archetypes present in every school year; Brian – who is essentially allergic to life. We meet Jessica, his long-held and never confessed love. We meet the bully, the geography teacher, the canteen lady, and Jonathan Jones; the student who no one remembers, despite having leapt from the science block. Twice.

The duo combine the best of sketch, slapstick, songs and story telling at high speed and high volume. The writing is brilliant, packed full of twists, turns, and escaped zoo animals. The performance bounced off the back of the theatre. While sweat poured forth from the performers they never displayed the exhaustion they must have been feeling. It was exhausting just watching them. Some fantastically executed audience participation was also a highlight of the night.

Fun, furiously paced and fundamentally silly, there’s few who wouldn’t love this performance. Already playing to packed rooms so get a ticket before there’s none left.

The Reunion is on at the Melb Town Hall – Powder Room until April 20