The Pajama Men at the Soho Theatre: Improvised comedy at its finest
It’s clear that The Pajama Men, otherwise known as Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen, have been doing this for a long time. Opening their show in the perfect setting of the Soho Theatre’s basement cabaret venue with a warning that what we were about to see was “seat of the pants” stuff, they launched into a series of creative, abstract, off-the-wall comedy sketches which relied on an incredible level of unspoken communication and timing. They knew just when to stop, when to bring it back, and seemed to be linked by some sort of telepathic powers. And they were very, very funny.
Improv can all too often depend heavily on the audience to drive (or even drag) a show along, but for The Pajama Men we were just little drops of lighter fuel to their fire. The superb “More Specific” game called for the audience to ask for more details at any time during the sketch, and it was handled beautifully, even when an amusing audience member modified the rules. Their on-the-spot lyric-writing was impressive, and the closing “Two Headed Monster” trick was so simple, but cleverly executed and effective.
Musician Kevin Hume supported the pair variously on guitar and piano, and during a sort of interval played an unexpectedly lovely romantic song, which nicely took the nonsense down a notch for a moment. That was until special guests Late Night Gimp Fight (one of the hottest shows at this year’s Fringe) burst onto the stage with their particular brand of frenetic and wickedly inappropriate sketches, boosting the energy back up for The Pajama Men’s return.
The whole show was well-paced, confident and skilfully controlled, yet at the same time fresh, raw and mischievous with a pure sense of fun. If you’re worried that improv is hit and miss, don’t be – you’re in safe hands.
The Pajama Men are at the Soho Theatre until 15th September. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Get a taste of the show here: