After parodying Holmes and Watson and pulling off a heist movie-style thriller, what epic setting will slick sketch duo Max and Ivan tackle in their latest Fringe show? Answer: a school reunion.
Yep, the pair’s latest offering might not feature car chases or fight scenes, but by choosing a theme a little closer to home they’ve produced a warmer, funnier and more engrossing hour that’s a feelgood triumph.
The story centres around Brian Bollingsworth – 28-years-old, hyper-allergic and ‘struggles with cheese’ – who sees his school reunion as a chance to finally admit his true feelings to childhood sweetheart Jessica. Of course, things aren’t quite that simple: Brian was always firmly in the ‘friend’ camp to Jessica, and she now has a good-looking Swedish douchebag of a boyfriend.
Along the way, we meet a handful of Brian’s school acquaintances – the boringly-named Alan Jones, remembered by no-one, not even childhood girlfriend of seven years, is particularly heartbreaking – and the scenes seamlessly flip between the reunion and schoolday flashbacks in which seemingly throwaway jokes neatly return and link together.
We all knew a Brian Bollingsworth at school, and it’s these comically exaggerated yet eerily familiar characters, all played exquisitely by the duo, that drive the cheesy, ’80s-teen-movie narrative. And if you’re not rooting for Brian when he finally gets his George McFly moment, see the school nurse immediately; there’s something wrong with you.
See 'Max and Ivan – The Reunion' at the Edinburgh Fringe
Backyard Comedy Club
One of London's much-needed, dedicated comedy clubs, run by British stand-up Lee Hurst, star of 'They Think it's All Over', who you can occasionally find performing here. At just a stone's throw from Bethnal Green, the Backyard is a good place to find up-and-coming comedians, plus since 2013, they've also hosted variety shows, cabaret, swing dancing and more. There's also a bar, pizzas, pool, fussball and darts.