James & Jamesy in High Tea at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles in James & Jamesy in High Tea. Photo credit: Thaddeus Hink

Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles in James & Jamesy in High Tea. Photo credit: Thaddeus Hink

James & Jamesy in High Tea by Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles
August 12 – 21 at the Rutherford School Auditorium
More information: jamesandjamesy.com

An interview with James & Jamesy.

Describe your show in five words.

Monty Python meets Dr. Seuss.

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

Jamesy accidentally floods the world with tea, and James & Jamesy have only their friendship and spectacular imagination to stay afloat.

Edmonton audiences have met James & Jamesy before – what do you think it is about these characters that audiences love?

Audiences love Jamesy with his peculiar and very skilled physicality. People say he’s a cross between Martin Short and Mr. Bean. James, by contrast, is a gentle giant whose world-class mime skills bring the world of imagination to life. The performers treat the show like its a game, and each show brings in a new audience, providing new players to create the fantastical world of High Tea.

Your shows seem to involve some element of audience participation. Can you talk about how this works in James & Jamesy in High Tea and why you like using this device in your shows?

We provide audiences with opportunities to play. It is always an invitation. A reviewer for Stage Door in Toronto says it well: “As adults we praise the imagination that children have in playing and creating as if we no longer have it. Just an hour at High Tea proves we have not lost that imagination. We simply haven’t been given the space, encouragement or freedom to exercise it. That space, that encouragement and that freedom are exactly what James and Jamesy give us. The immense pleasure we feel comes from realizing that a power we thought was lost has only been dormant. James and Jamesy’s High Tea awakens us.”

James & Jamesy in High Tea as well as your show 2 for Tea (which we saw in Edmonton in 2014 and 2015) centre around tea. What is it about this beverage that makes a good leaping off point for your shows?

Tea is a time between events when there is no set agenda or set outcome. It simply serves to bring people together, and conversation can wander anywhere. It is a cherished tradition and a wonderfully fun springboard from which we leap into shared fantastical adventures.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

The show is inspired by Alastair’s (Jamesy’s) grandfather, who obsessively loved the Queen, and by a time when Alastair’s sailboat broke down during a storm at sea, and he struggled for hours to stay afloat and return to shore.

The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Tickets go on sale August 3 at noon and will be available at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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