Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez have once again brought their surreal blend of comedy and physical theatre to Edinburgh, and this time they’re taking on a classic of world literature. With little more than a couple of chairs and the considerable musical talents of Kevin Hume, the duo have created a rollicking and often hilarious adventure through the intrigues of 17th century France.
A giddy, surprise-packed ride through a couple of the most entertaining imaginations in comedy.
To tell their story, the comedians have created an eclectic cast of characters, each brought to life by rapid-fire changes in accent and body language. Allen’s complete transformation into Cardinal Richelieu is easily the most memorable of these. Through a combination of expertly executed movement and bubbling, bilious sound effects the comedian manages to conjure up a villain whose gross obesity almost palpably fills the stage.
If the characters are impressive, the trip that they go on is equally extravagant. The action flies around France and England, with the occasional digression into the experiences of two female audience members who don’t quite get what’s going on. As Allen and Chavez continue to undertake their lightning-fast transitions it’s a feeling that some viewers may understand only too well.
The double act has packed an enormous amount into an hour and some of the plot points and less well-realised characters get lost within the whirlwind of action. Despite this the show does come together to make sense, and even though the ending is weaker than much of the material that precedes it, the overwhelming energy of the performances on stage is impressive and very funny in equal measure.
I’ve never read The Three Musketeers but I do have some familiarity with Dogtanian and the Three Muskahounds. Even with this knowledge of the French classic, the Pajama Men’s latest show remains a giddy, surprise-packed ride through a couple of the most entertaining imaginations in comedy.