James and Jamesy have come to Maple Ridge to round out their British Columbia tour of O Christmas Tea. The 17-time ‘Best-of-Fest’ winners from theatre festivals across North America invite audience members of all ages to join them in their action-packed quest to save the world from drowning in tea. It’s an imaginative, funny journey but it occasionally fell flat.
Let’s get the hard part out of the way first: it started off a bit rough. The first ten minutes were a bit painful to watch as Jamesy walks on stage and sets up a tea set in this elaborate, perfectionist way. Yes, that took ten minutes. The show uses a lot of physical humour, and that’s totally fine – it can be a lot of fun, but it generally can’t hold an entire show together. For the first few minutes, it felt like that was going to happen.
It did get a lot better after that, though. James is the more straight-faced component that always seems to make those situations funnier (although, some people did find it uproariously funny from the first second), and he worked really well with the audience. Sometimes gags went on a little too long, but he had this great lightness and ability to mention it – which would always make it funnier.
They kept throwing new ideas at us: the creation of this imaginative world that the audience and James are sort of sucked into was a lot of fun. Once he joins in on the gag it made the imagination that much more fun, I just wish that happened a little earlier. Bringing in Noah’s ark, then turning into the Titanic, was a silly addition that really seemed to exemplify how imagination works.
Overall, it was an enjoyable show but certainly not the most well-polished of the year. It would really suit fans of physical comedy and fringe productions, so I think I just missed the boat a little. Tickets can be found at jamesandjamesy.com/o-christmas-tea.