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

LETTER: I’m sorry, Surrey, for smelling like cigarettes all those years

If I could go back and tell my 13-year-old self to put down that cigarette, I would, reader says

‘A bag full of garbage every 15 metres’: Surrey industrial area filled with trash

Local workers looking to recruit business, raise funds to help dispose of litter

Survey suggests 83 per cent of Surreyites ‘favour a referendum’ on policing transition

Survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the National Police Federation

Racist graffiti sparks Cloverdale man to renew calls for City to clean up street

Hate message the latest garbage dumped at the end of 176th Street

Brand new Tesla crashes into Surrey store front, mounts gas line

Driver was heading to the Autoplan store, straight off the lot

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

New Alberta forward joins Vancouver Giants’ ranks

new left-handed 18-year-old is a familiar face to Giants head coach Michael Dyck

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Mugging with airsoft gun results in Langley school lockdown

Police found the weapon and a stolen phone later

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Chilliwack physiotherapist charged with sexual assault

Mounties urging other potential victims to make contact

Most Read