Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
The Pajama Men: Just the Two of Each of Us
The Pajama Men, Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez, have returned to Washington! After their knockout appearance last year on the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company stage, these two performance artists of the absurd are back with a new show, The Pajama Men: Just the Two of Each of Us. If it's a little less wide-ranging in its lunacy than its predecessor, there's still a great deal to enjoy in its 70 minutes.
Once again, Allen and Chavez shift characterizations in an instant (through posture and tone of voice), toss out an astonishing number of non sequiturs and bad puns, and ultimately tell a story of cosmic impact. Where the through line of the previous show involved an invasion from outer space, this one follows a medieval king and a wizard as they try to stop an immortal beast from destroying the world. ("When you have 700 years, it's very easy to let things slide," the king confesses.)
The jagged pieces of plot that somehow fit together include a young woman who has had her arm torn off and really wants it back, explorers making their way through a massive sinkhole, a motorcyclist who supplies his own sound effects, people watching themselves on television, loopy but poetic descriptions of common objects (a boomerang is a lonely man's Frisbee), and some business involving animals. Through everything, the two men in pajamas maintain an almost telepathic rapport, occasionally crumpling into laughter along with the audience. (This isn't annoying, it's endearing.) Kevin Hume provides atmospheric, understated musical support.
In any case, the Pajama Men offer a theatrical experience unlikely to be duplicated. As they say after asking if anyone in the audience is named Annette and receiving no answer: "That's good, because this is comedy without Annette [a net]." Maybe you have to be there.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company