For the holiday season, Canadian-based award-winning comedy duo Aaron Malkin and Alistair Knowles will return to the stage as James and Jamesy, bringing “O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy” to the Pacific Northwest, with tour stops in Renton, Auburn and Federal Way.
“People in smaller cities love theater, but there’s less exposure there, and we don’t think that should be the reality,” said Knowles, who plays Jamesy.
“O Christmas Tea” is described as a show for fans of Monty Python, Mr. Bean and Dr. Seuss that’s filled with physical comedy and “quick-witted wordplay” that brings British comedy to western United States and Canada.
“We’re playing with the American perspective of what Brit comedy is,” said Knowles. “It’s a lot of pairing with the proper and the absurd. We just layer in all things British.”
Knowles and Malkin, who have done over 1,000 shows together, have been working as a duo since 2012 and enjoy bringing their characters of James and Jamesy to life.
“With the characters of James and Jamesy, we never had an audience response like it before. It was electric,” said Malkin. “So we kept expanding our ideas and skits into shows and now we have five shows together as James and Jamesy.”
The contrasting personalities of the stage duo help progress the show’s Christmas narrative.
“James lives in a very literal world where physical reality is physical reality and Jamesy lives in a world that is vivid,” Malkin said.
“Jamesy believes that what’s on stage is reality in his flat in London and that isolation is broken when James comes in for tea,” said Knowles. “James knows that the audience is there and it’s that juxtaposition that butts up against each other […] There’s value of trying something new, seeing from someone else’s perspective and those themes are so integral to the Christmas experience.”
A show for all ages, “O Christmas Tea” will tour throughout British Columbia, Washington state and Oregon, beginning Nov. 14 and ending on Dec. 31.
“We are thrilled to bring friends and family together. Particularly at this time of year, we are reminded to dream big, embrace imagination, and celebrate a childlike excitement for merriment,” says Malkin. “And for audiences that have already made ‘O Christmas Tea’ part of their traditions, there will be some surprises we look forward to sharing!”
“O Christmas Tea” will be at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center in Renton on Nov. 24, the Auburn Performing Arts Center in Auburn on Nov. 26 and the Federal Way Performing Arts Center in Federal Way on Dec. 17. For tickets and more tour dates, visit ochristmastea.com.