Pajama Party is worth crashing

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(Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez are the hilarious duo behind the comedy team The Pajama Men. Their latest show, “In the Middle of No One,” is playing at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Photograph courtesy of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.)

Bitchy hospital nurses, time-travelers and aliens have audiences rolling with laughter in The Pajama Men’s latest comedy show “In the Middle of No One.”

Performing for the first time at Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company through Jan. 6, The Pajama Men are adept at improvisation, slapstick and physical theater. The Pajama Men – Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez – are a must see for fans Chicago’s The Second City, with whom Allen and Chavez refined their act.

“In the Middle of No One” is full of nonsensical and sometimes sexual humor e.g., a brilliant impression of a slutty zebra. A few blood and guts moments veer a little middle school, but nothing excessively gross. Think 30-something actors reliving their middle school daydreams. Except these men are such skilled performers that they only resort to potty mouth humor when they want, not because they need a cheap laugh. Chavez and Allen did crack themselves up a few times. Their absurdist, often random skits in “In the Middle of No One” don’t appear to be part of a larger story until halfway through the show.

Having met at an audition for the Improv Team at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, N.M., Allen and Chavez have been working together for nearly 20 years. Their long-standing relationship is evident by the ease in which the men play off one another during “In the Middle of No One.” It is no surprise The London Times namedThe Pajama Men “Double Act of the Year” or that the duo sold out a season at the Sydney Opera House.

Musician Kevin Hume joins The Pajama Men on stage, providing solid guitar and piano music. At one point, Hume breaks into a catchy song while The Pajama Men perform a fast-paced recap of sorts. While both the recap and the song are witty, a skit focused on one or the other instead of both is preferable. The only other gripe is that the show is a breezy 60 minutes. A longer Pajama Men performance should be in the works.

In conjunction with the show, Woolly is hosting a pajama drive for the Pajama Prrogram, a nonprofit that provides new pajamas and books to needy children. Through Jan. 6, bring a new pair of child-sized pajamas to Woolly and receive a free drink ticket. Woolly will donate the pajamas to the Pajama Program.

“In the Middle of No One” is playing at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., through Jan. 6, 2013. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Ticket prices start at $35, except for 7 p.m. performances on Fridays and Saturdays, which start at $55. For more information, call 202-393-3939.

 

 

 

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