The Pajama Men
Both brilliantly silly and brilliantly clever
This article is from 2011.
In The Middle of No One is one of the most inventive, thoughtful and well-performed comedy shows on the Fringe, a whisker away from five-star glory, let down only by a slight lack of energy on the night of the performance. This, however, is understandable. In this exhausting show the pair of physical comedians from Albuquerque each play over a dozen characters, ranging from the piece’s hero – sibilantly-named time traveller Ross Stevens Sparks – to a robot rip-off merchant, to a groaning porn-alike South American bird called a Give-it-to-me.
The show twists more times than a M Night Shyamalan film. Indeed, a lot of laughs come from taking cinema conventions to reductio ad absurdum levels of stupidity, or from giving minor characters excessive amounts of screen time – the five minutes spent watching two sidelined hospital nurses imitating one of the main character’s bombastic speeches are among the hour’s best.
The final scenes swap the cleverness of the earlier mimes for a not-unenjoyable barrage of plot twists, leading to lines like, ‘I’ll see you in two minutes ago.’ But, as bullets fly through the air, and Ross Sparks flies through time, you can’t help wanting to see more of those killer, drawn out ad libs. Still, this is highly recommended.
Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 29 Aug, 9pm, £13-£14 (£12-£13).