Monday Magazine editor
An absurd tea party inspired by the likes of Mr. Bean and Monty Python will soon make its return to the Royal Theatre.
The comedy team of James and Jamesy bring their British panto style performance back to Victoria on Dec. 13 and 14 with O Christmas Tea, a seasonal-themed show that immerses audience members in a world of the imagination and physical humour.
“The show does an amazing job of bringing together people of all ages into the spirit of collective play,” says Aaron Malkin (James), who combined with Alistair Knowles in 2o12 to create James and Jamesy. The pair have toured with the act internationally and recently finished a five-week off-Broadway run of their show In the Dark at the Soho Playhouse in New York City.
The pair are well known for their willingness to take creative chances, using their own imaginations and taking advantage of their on-stage chemistry to connect with audiences.
While neither is British – Malkin grew up in Toronto, Knowles in Winnipeg – you’d never know it from their performance as two lovable, but vastly different characters who keep a smile on people’s faces with their antics.
“The parts of the show that I love are where the logical is juxtaposed with the absurd,” says Knowles. “It’s often that Jamesy misunderstands the situations that James, the man of logic, presents.”
Take the illusory “fourth wall,” that invisible line between the audience and the stage that actors generally steer clear of, unless you’re performing an interactive panto, of course.
“I’m confused with his logic that there isn’t a wall between myself and the audience, and at a certain point in the show, my living room begins flooding with tea. Eventually it fills my flat so much that we reach a moment where the whole audience can feel the fourth wall break. Aaron and I, with our physicality, create that and bust through the wall.”
Malkin notes that it’s rare for grandparents and grandchildren to both enjoy a shared entertainment experience these days, but O Christmas Tea tends to transcend generations with its broad-based humour and hilarious situations.
“This has something for everyone,” he says.
The Victoria shows are part of a 20-show December tour around B.C., with stops in Bellingham, Wash. and Winnipeg tossed in for good measure.