- Brian Donaldson
- 14 August 2008
This article is from 2008.
Fantastic yet familiar physical horseplay
The Fringe traditionally gets its unfair share of headlines for being a hotbed of nudity and a feast of skin-baring. But two guys in their jimmy-jams before the watershed? What gives? The massively innovative North American double act of Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez is what gives. Watching them return to Edinburgh after an absence of three years is simultaneously a joy and a frustration. While they remain one of the freshest acts in town, the ironic downside to their magical imaginings and pinpoint delivery is that it's all too hauntingly familiar.
With just a couple of chairs as props (and a third man in nightwear strumming the musical backdrop), Versus vs Versus is rather too close to 2005's Stop Not Going for comfort. We get the same small girl, whistling old people, brusque men with big Yankee moustaches (a truly memorable mime that one) with almost identical chase sequences. This time around, there's also a brilliant running gag about a man with no thumbs, an inspired and hilarious stop-motion erotic interlude and a tender slo-mo sequence which captures the show's best moments. For sheer visual impact alone, there's not a single thing you can fault with the Allen and Chavez performance. If you were lucky enough to see them in 2005, you may feel marginally let down. If this is your maiden voyage on the Pajama Men express you're in for a physical and spiritual treat.
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 24 Aug, 7.40pm, £12–£13 (£11–£12).