James and Jamesy, played by Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles, in the upcoming hilarious Christmas fantasy O Christmas Tea. (Thaddeus Hink photography)

Tea-rrific wish equals holiday magic

O Christmas Tea at ACT Nov. 21

A Christmas wish for tea leads to comic genius in the festive tradition of O Christmas Tea coming to the ACT.

This year three different kinds of snow, three different kinds of smoke, three canons, and three underwater lighting effect generators will add to the festive magic of comedians Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles.

The story begins when the two main characters James, played by Malkin and Jamesy, played by Knowles, accidentally flood the world with tea at their annual Christmas get-together. The friends then leap into action as they try and keep themselves afloat in this magical land described as a combination of Monty Python, Mr. Bean and Dr. Seuss.

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Each show audience members are invited on stage to take on different characters.

“As for the script, it is always in a process of development,” said Malkin.

“No two performances are quite the same, and the best bits are harvested and attempted in subsequent shows,” he continued.

“Every show is alive with the excitement that comes from not knowing exactly what is going to happen, for both the audience and the performers,” Malkin added.

Knowles and Malkin are three-time winners of the Impresario Awards in London, ON, and are seasoned veterans at improvising on stage.

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Since 2012, James & Jamesy productions have been performed more than 750 times across the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada, earning them lifetime fans and rave reviews.

In 2017, they sold out performances at the Edinburgh Fringe and in 2018 they performed a five-week run off-Broadway at New York’s SoHo Playhouse.

Among other accolades, the comedians are winners of the Canadian Comedy Award for Best Live Ensemble and are 22-time “Best of Fest” winners on the International Comedy circuit.

“This year we have augmented our technical support team in order to better accomplish spectacular and magical effects. As the tour continues to grow, finding new and larger theatres to play in, we are very excited to be providing the best production value that the show has ever had,” said Malkin.

The pair started touring James and Jamesy back in 2013.

Although it wasn’t a Christmas show back then, it instantly become a hit with audiences across Canada, the United States and even in the United Kingdom.

Knowles and Malkin said that the one thing people loved about the show was the charming relationship between this oddball pair of friends.

Eventually they realized that if they made a few changes to the performance they could turn it into a Christmas show. O Christmas Tea came to be in 2015.

O Christmas Tea is rich with wordplay, comic physicality and cleverly crafted interactive elements.

“The Christmas season is a magical time of year that brings people of all ages together. A time when we are encouraged to dream big, embrace imagination, and celebrate a childlike excitement for merriment,” said Knowles.

“The show truly is an all-ages spectacular,” said Malkin noting that it is visual and whimsical in ways that young kids connect with, yet very clever, funny, and heartfelt in ways that will touch adults.

O Christmas Tea is at the ACT Arts Centre, 11944 Haney Place in Maple Ridge, at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 21.

Tickets are $34 to $39 for adults and $19 to $24 for students.

For more information call 604-476-2787 or go to theactmapleridge.org.



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James and Jamesy, played by Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles, in the upcoming hilarious Christmas fantasy O Christmas Tea. (Thaddeus Hink photography)

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