SubCulture at 45 Bleecker St., Downstairs is one of those understated, cool venues that make you glad you came. On a frigid Tuesday, the corner of Bleecker, a scooch east of Lafayette, is welcoming. There is a full bar, heads-up staff, floor seating and raked seating at the back of the room
The minimal stage – no props no scenery – looks like an ideal set for standup comedy, and often, it is. This night, The Pajama Men, two men, literally in pajamas take the stage. They are Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez and they have been touring this odd, though compelling, show around the planet since April. There was Melbourne and Sydney and Perth. Then, from the Edinburgh Fringe, they moved to London’s West End. So a lot of audiences have shown up at such small venues and liked the nonsensical footrace these skit actors run.
It’s fun. It’s other. It’s often quite funny. It is larded with ham-handed puns that invite the audience to groan. The two generate a vast cast of characters; men, women, monsters, and motorcycles. Just the Two of Each of Us is character rich and fast paced. There is an element of “Did you not like that last bit? Hold on a second, we’ll do something else.” Some bits are unexpected. At the same time, some bits, you might see in the basement of really gifted and giddy, adolescent boys “putting on a show.”
These are not boys. They are polished physical actors playing off one another in what is clearly a developed script that demands polished timing. That said, they infuse much of the action – and it is a very physically active 70 minutes – with a veneer of improvisation. You know better, and yet you keep buying in. These young men, somehow full of hubris and humility at once, have been in town before. You may have seen them at St Ann’s Warehouse in 2010.
Just the Two of Each of Us has a short run, just 12 shows, at SubCulture. If you are looking for something completely different – as the Python boys might say – this may serve as a great downtown, pre-dinner, cabaret.
Just the Two of Each of Us is created and performed by Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez. Music by Kevin Hume. At SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street, Manhattan;212 533 5470. Running time is 1 hour 10 minutes.