Aaron Malkin (as James) and Alastair Knowles (Jamesy) will bring their “O Christmas Tea” comedy show to Surrey on Sunday, Dec. 15, as part of a regional tour. (photo: jamesandjamesy.com)

Aaron Malkin (as James) and Alastair Knowles (Jamesy) will bring their “O Christmas Tea” comedy show to Surrey on Sunday, Dec. 15, as part of a regional tour. (photo: jamesandjamesy.com)

THEATRE

With ‘joy of playing together,’ James and Jamesy bring ‘O Christmas Tea’ to Surrey

Duo’s touring show aims to create a sense of wonder with physical comedy, wordplay and more

By Joseph Blake, Black Press Media contributor

Canadian comedy duo James and Jamesy, a.k.a. Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles, have seen their audience makeup expand since they first hit the road with their imaginative, interactive seasonal favourite, O Christmas Tea.

Prior to a regional tour that brings them to Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre on Sunday, Dec. 15, the performers said they expected to see a strong family element at the series of shows.

“Since our first tour of O Christmas Tea five years ago, a range of ages have been attracted to the show,” Knowles says. “We will have three generations all together in the theatre loving the same thing, and that’s a real joy to me.”

Fringe Festival favourites with a handful of critically acclaimed original plays that fill theatres around the world, Malkin and Knowles met in Vancouver. Their chemistry is at the heart of shows featuring amazing physical comedy, rich wordplay, Mr. Bean and Monty Python-like quirkiness, and elements of the British pantomime tradition.

The participatory nature of the show lends itself well to family bonding, Malkin says.

“Christmas is always a time when families choose to be together. They get together for Christmas morning and to share a meal, and our show is another chance to experience Christmas together while witnessing others experiencing the show,” he says.

“My six-year-old is particularly enthusiastic about dinosaurs, and a scene where the audience creates dinosaurs is magical,” Malkin continues. “Dinosaurs are the ultimate bridge between make-believe and not make-believe. It’s so amazing that they once roamed the planet. They create a sense of timelessness. Noah’s Ark and the Titanic scene is another part of the show where the audience participates and discovers itself. It’s beyond a British comedy style, and it works really well with Christmas to create magic.”

O Christmas Tea fosters a spirit of play, Knowles says.

“Audiences are invited into the play, creating a sense of wonder and the joy of playing together.”

A veteran of clown and dance theatre scenes, the duo helped launch Vancouver’s In Jest Festival of Clown and Play, and their unique blend of interactive theatre will also be familiar to British panto audiences. They tour six months every year, and recent tours have taken them to sold-out performances and critical acclaim (multiple London Impresario and Canadian Comedy Awards) at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Off-Broadway at New York’s historical Soho Playhouse.

“Touring New York City and Edinburgh Fringe inspired us to add two new technicians to our show to augment the technical team and add to the sense of magic and illusion happening on stage.” says Aaron. “We keep doing this show because it’s hilarious and fun for us, too.”

For more information about O Christmas Tea, visit jamesandjamesy.com.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show at Surrey’s Bell theatre range from $19 to $44. For details, visit bellperformingartscentre.com or call 604-507-6355.

Live theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The volume of visitors to White Rock’s Marine Drive over the weekend has led council to consider special measures this week. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock council rejects resident-only parking for waterfront

Other health and safety measures to be considered in a special meeting Wednesday

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Vehicles line up for the Greater Vancouver Drive-Thru Food Truck Festival at the Chilliwack Coliseum parking lot on March 27. The touring event comes to Cloverdale this weekend, April 24-25 (Photo: Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)
Here are the food trucks coming to Cloverdale for a drive-thru festival this weekend

Nine trucks will be parked Saturday, nine Sunday during event at fairgrounds

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Parts of Surrey, North Delta to get AstraZeneca vaccines for people ages 40+

A total of seven communities in Surrey and Delta will be targeted

The Braidwood Band performs for the seniors at Zion Park Manor in Surrey, as part of a music program planned by Rick’s Heart Foundation. (submitted photo)
VIDEO: Surrey charity brings distanced concerts to care homes, with prop pink firetruck

Familiar tunes performed for seniors during pandemic-era ‘Heart for Music’ program

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

A man has died after being shot at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park the evening of Monday, April 19. (Twitter/IHIT)
1 man dead after shooting at Coquitlam park: IHIT

The gunman is still at large, according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Most Read