October 3, 2008

Return to Improv Suits Comedy Duo Just Fine

By Dan Mayfield Journal Staff Writer

Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez have just been too busy to do what they do best. For several years, the pair -- better known as The Pajama Men -- have been earning rave reviews on two continents for their comedy work.

From Albuquerque to Toronto to London, the Pajama Men have been a hit with both scripted and improvisational comedy shows.

The duo really took off after a stint at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy festival in Scotland, but that's left little for them to follow their comedy passions. The pair went in 2005 to the international festival to perform and did well, but knew that they hadn't pulled all the tricks out of their bags.

"We decided to go back to Edinburgh in '08, because, although we did well in '05, we didn't quite accomplish what we wanted to," Chavez said.

This year, the London Times gave the pair a rave, five-star review, for the show "Versus Vs. Versus."

"Extraordinarily well performed," said Times comedy editor Dominic Maxwell. "They've really zeroed in on the comedy. It's one of the most hugely enjoyable bits of comedy acting I've ever seen."

That review put the duo on every festivalgoer's top list, and since then things are just getting better for the pair.

"We have a lot of irons in the fire because of that," Chavez said.

They've been asked to perform in Australia and New Zealand, across Canada and the United States, and to go back to London.

But the two have been focusing on scripted work and not performing their popular improv that earned them local fame.

"Now, after running a written show ('Versus Vs. Versus'), we want do some more improv," Chavez said. "We're going to London again, and if we want to clean up there, we need to practice -- and it's a ton of fun."

The new show, called "Improvviso," starts with some improv, moves into live music provided by a variety of local bands and musicians, and goes back into improv.


WHEN: Saturday nights from Oct. 4-Nov. 22. Doors open at 8:30

WHERE: Stove, 114 Morningside NE

HOW MUCH: $15; $12 for students and seniors

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