Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez are The Pajama Men
(© Nolan Rudi)
Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez are The Pajama Men
(© Nolan Rudi)
If you want to see performers who can do marvelous impersonations, impressive physical comedy, and make even a hoary knock-knock joke sound funny, you could try watching Saturday Night Live -- or you could guarantee yourself some hearty laughter by catching The Pajama Men in The Last Stand to Reason, which concludes a too-brief run at St. Ann's Warehouse with two shows on Saturday, February 19.

The "men" -- Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez -- first met in Alburquerque, and have since found success with this show in such places as London and Edinburgh. And it's no surprise they've been a hit across the pond, since they occassionaly bring to mind the silliness and absurdity of Monty Python.

Moreover, at many times during their 75-minute shaggy-dog story, which takes place during a train ride, the show feels a bit reminscent of the Brit hit, The 39 Steps, as the pair constantly change from one character to another.

Among those vividly brought to life are a variety of train employees and passengers, including a supervisor with an unusual flair for painting (you may never think of horses the same way again), a pair of middle-aged women traveling without their husbands, a straight-arrow detective, a sleazy magician, and even the possessed ghost of a little girl. Each characterization, even when slighlty too broad, is precise, and the array of accents and physical detail Allen and Chavez use is quite remarkable.

Even though the show feels slightly improvised -- which adds to the merriment --one wishes a few bits were shorter and that the storyline was a bit sharper with a stronger payoff. But the proceedings never put you to sleep, which is a lot more than I can say for certain episodes of a long-running late-night comedy show!

One last note: while they don't make any noticeable use of their titular gimmick (the fact that they perform in pajamas and barefeet), they also prove you don't gotta have a gimmick to please the crowd.