Edinburgh Festival review – Max and Ivan are … Holmes and Watson

Those hoping for a faithful trawl through a well-known Holmes story are in for a shock, albeit a pleasant one

Max_and_Ivan2From Walt Disney to Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, there are many who have had a go at re-inventing Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

This hasn’t stopped comedy duo Max and Ivan from bringing their own take on Sir Arthur Conan’s Doyle’s super sleuth and his trusty sidekick to the Fringe. Yet those hoping for a faithful trawl through a well-known Holmes story are in for a shock, albeit a pleasant one.

As the title tells us Max and Ivan are … Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson but this a Holmes and Watson unlike any other.

They are more adept at solving mysteries such as The Case of the Lactating Scarecrow rather than chasing the Hound of the Baskervilles, and, without a deerstalker in sight, the duo are thrown into an adventure story set in a murky Chicago underworld.

Watson has been kidnapped by Moriarty, who is league with Al Capone, and Holmes must save his friend and foil his nemisis’s dastardly plot to blow up an orphanage for haemophiliacs, a retirement home for war veterans and the President of America in one fell swoop.

Max and Ivan are skilled physical comedians and, with echoes of the Pajama Men, bring to life an array of characters, from hideous prostitute Dusty Cervix to gangster’s henchman the Octagon (“the man of 1,000 faces”) with an infectious enthusiasm and breathless energy.

The end result might not be the Holmes and Watson dreamed up by Conan Doyle, but I’d be surprised if they get too many complaints.

4 stars

Max and Ivan are Holmes and Watson are on at 3.30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard.
Review written by Will Gore

Leave a Reply