Strangers on a train with gags
This article is from 2009.
The simplest way to describe the Pajama Men is ‘indescribable’, but as this is perhaps the least helpful word in the critic’s lexicon, I’ll give it a bash. Basically, the US comedy duo (aka Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen) invent numerous outrageous characters with bizarre backgrounds and weave them all into a chaotic, evolving narrative. The cherry on the cake of all this physical weirdness is that they do the whole thing clad in full-button winceyette jimmy-jams.
A long-distance train journey is the ideal setting for the rubber-faced pair’s new show. Characters encountered en route include a couple of hick mermaids, two English punks and a pair of travellers from Broken England. What makes the Pajamas’ hour-long series of micro-sketches so compelling is an uncanny ability to flip rapidly from one precisely drawn, outrageous character to the next, while the whole routine is beautifully complemented by musician Dominick Campbell’s background atmospherics. Even when Chavez and Allen corpse or slip out of character you never feel that they are anything other than fully in control of this finely-honed show.
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 30 Aug (not 17), 7.25pm, £12–£13 (£11–£12).