sat 17/04/2021

Pajama Men, Arts Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Pajama Men, Arts Theatre

Pajama Men, Arts Theatre

More multi-strand storytelling from the madcap duo

Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez can individuate characters with just a gesture

We're advised to take off our shoes, as the show will knock our socks off; it's the first of many neatly worked bits of wordplay about how good the show will be - “Is there anybody named Annette in the audience? Good, because this is comedy without Annette” - in a fantastic opening riff before Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez get down to the proper business of the evening.

We're advised to take off our shoes, as the show will knock our socks off; it's the first of many neatly worked bits of wordplay about how good the show will be - “Is there anybody named Annette in the audience? Good, because this is comedy without Annette” - in a fantastic opening riff before Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez get down to the proper business of the evening. Entitled Just the Two of Each of Us, this is another of their trademark shows of madcap physical storytelling, in which they each play several characters, with the only props on stage being two chairs.

The chairs became any numbers of things, including a royal coach, a car and a motorbike. The characters the duo play, meanwhile, include a king and his hideous sidekick, two lady friends, a loser guy who really doesn't get it that his girlfriend wants out of their relationship, a pair of workers at a weird holiday resort, and two police officers investigating the world's largest sinkhole, who find their relationship has more than a touch of the homoerotic about it as we hear their inner thoughts.

The complicated plot involves a long-dormant man-eating beast coming to life and threatening the king's realm. He, like his subjects, tries to escape, and all sorts of mayhem ensues as the story progresses and we meet the duo's large array of characters, which involves them assuming lots of different voices and accents, and people being individuated by the merest adjustment in Allen or Chavez's bearing or in the slightest hand gesture.

Away from the story itself, other strands, such as when the duo play television anchors, are dropped into the action, meaning that less physical comedy and more straightforward jokes get an airing. Another character, a supposedly cool guy who finds everything “too easy”, provides a lovely running gag where the audience gleefully anticipates the payoff each time. Kevin Hume on keyboard and guitar, meanwhile, provides an occasionally intrusive soundtrack.

I found the multi-strand storyline rather confusing; some of the strands were obvious by the time the gagline arrived and others eventually made sense, but at the end of the evening I wasn't entirely sure where everyone fitted in, and there was the occasional longueur. Yet the comedy and the performances are, as ever, excellent.

There's a lovely running gag where the audience gleefully anticipates the payoff each time

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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