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Pam Ford Curl Up and Dye Salon Secrets
Papa CJ: One In A Bilion
Parris and Dowler: Special Delivery
Patrick Monahan: Hug Me I Feel Good
Patrick Monahan: Stories and Fairytales of Travels For Kids That Dance Like Camels
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Professor-kaos Mad Science Dangerous Show
Psycho Big Top Comedy Club
Puppetry Of The Penis: 3D
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Pajama Men: In The Middle of No One
A fast-paced comedy thriller about love, alien abduction, the pressure cooker of solitude and the spirit of adventure. Presented in the Pajama Menís trademark style of blink-of-an-eye character switches and plot twists, underscored with unflinching joke telling, In The Middle of No One is a bizarre flight of fancy-pants.
Pajama Men: In The Middle Of No One
Nearly two months in the West End is an ambitious residency for the Pajama Men, who are about to learn the hard way whether or not Edinburgh Fringe acclaim can translate to the success in London.
Not that ambition is a stranger to New Mexicans Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez, who create weird and wonderful words with no props, save for two wooden chairs, and no costumes, save for the nightwear which they have made their trademark.
This is the fifth show the talented pair have performed, and after all their award nominations, they not going to change the winning format now. Over an hour and a bit, they whip through a series of weird and wonderful sketches, snapping between convincing characters in a heartbeat. And not only human ones, either, as they intimidate space aliens, ice beasts and even the mouth of a zebra (the whore of the animal kingdom, according to the duo) with brilliantly effective invention.
Itís clear the fast-paced scenes are somehow linked, but exactly how is initially as obscure as the In The Middle Of†No One title. Yet thereís satisfaction to be had when all the pieces start to fall into place and the narrative emerges.
Not that the pieces necessarily fit snugly Ė the time-travelling caper of explorers on a quest to find a grounded alien space craft still ends up somewhat jumbled, but thatís not really the point. The function of the fragmented Ė and sometimes comic-book gruesome Ė story is to provide a framework on which to loosely hang the myriad skits, which combine astute physical comedy skills with silly, sassy backchat that can trace its heritage back to Abbott and Costello.
A quickfire Q&A routine most blatantly shows that influence, while a oddball exchange to test the theory that other human senses are heightened when one is denied is clever, bizarre and funny in equal measure.
Even the most straightforward of conversations zings with wit, while their physicality is shown off to best advantage when they become marionettes, clopping hilariously around the stage as if controlled by inept puppeteers.
However, the most memorable scene is the one that could have come straight out of a joke book: the bartender who has an exotic South American Give It To Me Bird, whose calls are as lascivious as its name suggests.
Despite the ready supply of inventively funny scenes, In The Middle Of†No One does seem to lack some of the performance verve of previous Pajama Men offering, with the knockabout improv that adds a spontaneity to their precisely-engineered show slow to appear, and unusually self-conscious when it does. But thatís only a slight failing against the high-water mark Allen and Chavez have set for themselves.
Even on stage, with such a pared-down production, hereís a filmic quality to the Pajama Menís thinking Ė a trait†they share with the similarly offbeat League Of Gentlemen Ė†and not just in the epic, sweeping ambition of their storyline. Musician Kevin Hume provides an evocatively idle soundtrack to the show, as well as providing an all-important backing to the flashback montage that helps put some of the strands in context.
Itís another touch of class for this head-spinning comic romp, which fizzes with vaudevillian originality.
|Date of live review: Wednesday 11th Jan, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
Pajama Men: In The Middle of No One
Wednesday 27th Apr, '11 -
by Steve Bennett
Remarkable. Once again, the Pajama Men provide some of the most inspired comedy and biggest laughs you'll find at the Fringe...or anywhere for that matter. They thoroughly deserved the standing ovation the crowd were itching to give them for the full hour!