Reviewing a Pajama Men show is no easy feat. Unless you’re the type of person that a) has a photographic memory or b) sits in comedy shows with a little torch and a notebook, chances are by the time you return home from the show you’ll discover you’ve already forgotten most of the bits that had you gasping for breath an hour earlier.
The Albuquerque duo – Shenoah Allen (the blonde one) and Mark Chavez (the dark-haired one) – are master of the silly voice, the slapstick and the surreal. Their shows are narratives, yes, but warped ones, in which characters disappear and return and storylines get tangled. It can be exhaustive just sitting in the audience and trying to keep up; judging by the sweat dripping from the pairs’ faces by the end of the show, it’s much harder work performing it.
Just the Two of Each of Us revolves, essentially, around the quest to capture a 700-year old monster. As is the case in each Pajama Men show, Allen and Chavez play more than 10 characters each including teenage girls (“there are two things I don’t give: a shit and money to homeless people,” Chavez’s emo teen tells Allen’s beggar), news anchors, motorcyclists and a lovesick store owner pleading with his girlfriend to not break up with him.
There are bizarre segues like the newsreaders’ cross to one of their reporters, a squirrel named Nutsy. A fantastic scene in which the pair creates a claw machine game (with Chavez’s arm trying to grab Allen’s head) is a highlight, and the longer it goes on, the funnier it gets.
The Arts Centre’s Fairfax Studio is a more intimate venue than the Barry Award-winning pair has played in the past, which is pleasing given the pair’s facial expressions and physical comedy is just as crucial to the show as the gags. The show is tightly scripted and performed, but even potential distractions like Allen’s faulty lapel microphone are worked into the story without either actor flinching.
Original, creative and downright hilarious, it would surprise few in the comedy world if Pajama Men achieve the same type of crossover success as the Mighty Boosh and Flight of the Conchords. Marvel at them now while you can.