Max and Ivan's Prom Night @ Assembly High

Max and Ivan's end of Fringe party is one to remember

Review by Ben Venables | 27 Aug 2018
  • Max and Ivan

Max and Ivan's Prom Night is a departure from The Wrestling. Jettisoning that kind of spectacle, the duo initially seem to be leading us into a comedians' take on immersive theatre. There are vintage cars outside and, walking into the hall, there's a diorama stand complete with teachers' reports. "These are our visions of the future", says one of the 'students'. For those who care to take a look these 'visions', which range from cardboard fish in the ocean to dystopias, are hilariously detailed.

Revellers queue in prom dress for photos under a balloon arch, there's a hair stylist's stall and a ballot box for prom king and queen. The school newspaper, The Assembly Gazette, fills us in on how the school basketball team – the Assembly Asses – have beaten their rivals for the first time ever. This introduces us to our night's antagonist, Adam Riches' Coach Coach, who is in charge of Pleasance High's line-up. He is now out for revenge and banned from the venue.

Coach Coach isn't the only potential party pooper. Angelos Epithemiou plays a nasally-toned stickler of a council noise inspector who occasionally disrupts the 1950s-style live band, The Cummerbunds, led by Max and Ivan themselves.

Perhaps due to technical restrictions, the balance between an actual prom night and staged comedic interludes doesn't always quite play out to full potential. Interruptions from the dance floor are lit from the same spot and onstage it is more like a variety night at times. And a night with an audience dispersed around a Crags community centre means the acts don't always command the attention they should. Fortunately, and despite any slight cracks in the glitterball, it is a brilliant night of comic turns: including Rachel Parris's character being crowned Prom Queen, Nina Conti and Jason Byrne dressing up a new school mascot and Kieran Hodgson, playing a school choir boy, rousing the audience with his unexpected lyrical turn.

It's a night with an attention to detail that contiunually brings more rewards. It is also one hell of a party. People dancing, people talking, people laughing: a memory to treasure for the Fringe 2018 yearbook.

Max and Ivan's Prom Night played Assembly High (Crags Sports and Community Centre) on 24 Aug

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