2 For Tea at Edmonton Fringe Festival

2 For Tea
Suzanne Thibaudeau Auditorium (8627 – 91 Street) August 16 – 14 (every day)
More information: jamesandjamesy.com

An interview with James Brown.

Jamesy Evans and James Brown. Photo credit: Kathy Knowles

Jamesy Evans and James Brown. Photo credit: Kathy Knowles

Describe your show in five words.

A fantastical tea party adventure.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

Award-winning British comedy duo James & Jamesy lure you into their delightfully bizarre world with their innocence and endearing chemistry. What begins as an ordinary tea party evolves into a magnificent adventure where the extraordinary joyously erupts from the ordinary. As touching as it is hilarious, 2 for Tea is a vibrant celebration of friendship and imagination.

“2 for Tea is a truly fun riff on British farce that’s steeped in playfulness, meticulous physical comedy, and an unabashed love for the unexpected.” CV Victoria

“2 for Tea is an irresistible delight. Their unusual combination of verbal and physical comedy with improvisation involving audience members put the ‘play’ (as in spontaneous fun) back into ‘play’ (as in theatre). One reason for the glee that greets the performers is the way they remind an adult audience of the children they once were, and still are.” Stage Door, Toronto

“Their outrageous spirit of infectious fun and whimsy spawn wild sold out shows. With mind-boggling physicality, these adept gents show how a body can be an instrument of play, creativity, highly skilled beauty, and freedom. They are brilliant. I fell instantly in love with my inner child.” Stephen Archibald

2 for Tea features participation from not one, but four audience members. Can you tell us a bit about how you integrate audience participation into the show?

We believe that playing is good for humanity, and that imagination and whimsy are elements of childhood that tend to retreat as we become mature grown-ups – much like parents at a playground. As adults, our willingness to play may have atrophied, but it’s still there, and given the right circumstances, it can joyously erupt. In 2 for Tea, we create opportunities where that spark of play is nurtured and fanned into a delightful blaze that illuminates the entire audience.

With guidance, audiences of 2 for Tea become active contributors to the show, dramatically becoming soldiers of the British Army, a choir of angels, members of an extended family, and more. Providing costumes and character traits to particularly keen individuals and inviting them onstage, the cast of the show expands. Audiences are often surprised at their own willingness to participate, leave feeling they have explored an edge of their comfort and engaged with life in a new way, and grown as individuals while contributing to the community that theatre can build.

2 for Tea rips on a British tradition and it seems that audiences are loving it. Among all the other British traditions that are known worldwide, why choose tea (or a tea party) in particular to explore?

Typified by the 1939 pre-WWII British motto “Keep calm and carry on”, the British hold order and civility in the highest regard and cling to it in even the most turbulent of situations. Teatime epitomises this mentality. There are photos of soldiers taking time inside their tanks to have tea, complete with proper teacups and saucers.

2 for Tea treats a tea party as the event between events, using it as a springboard for the fantastical events of the play. Two friends come together with no objective other than to enjoy a cuppa and share company. By having no agenda, any impulse or idea can become the event and teatime can become a place where, if willing, imagination can spawn the grandest of adventures.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

2 for Tea has won one or more awards in every festival it’s been in.

Bring a teacup (so that we may serve you tea.)

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show?

Ringmastered by David MacMurray Smith – Head instructor at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre School, movement director for the Music Theatre and Opera programs at the Banff Center for the Arts.

The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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