ORLANDO – The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, and runs through May 29. This year the nearly three-week long festival will feature the largest line-up of shows in its history.
And before anyone can say “Blimey!” here comes two British comedians, making a return visit to Orlando Fringe after being the creators of 2016’s show “2 for Tea.” James & Jamesy are back with “High Tea: Another British Comedy.”
When a catastrophic disaster floods the world in tea — yes, you heard that right, tea! — our caffeine connoisseur duo James and Jamesy leap into action. Their goal: finding innovative ways to keep them afloat.
“Evoking the spirit of well-known maritime adventures including Noah’s Ark, Jaws, and Titanic, audience members will ease into their roles as pivotal characters in the work, playing along with the unforgettable, witty antics,” the dup notes in a press release.
Formed in 2012, James & Jamesy have been entertaining audiences with their distinctly British humor, courtesy of Aaron Malkin as James and Alastair Knowles as Jamesy, blending theater, physical comedy, and dance to take audiences on fantastical trips of the imagination.
Freeline Media reached out to Alastair for the stiff upper lip details.
Freeline Media: First, what the heck is it with the British and tea? It’s like those tea bags solve all their life’s problems!
Alastair Knowles: Tea-time is our daily time-out. In tumultuous times, it’s the routine that we cling to. Even in the trenches of war, us British take time to tea. In that hiatus, our minds are free and can set sail into the vast expanse our psyche. In our James & Jamesy shows, tea time vaults us into spectacular trips of the imagination, brimming with surprise and joy, into a realm where anything can happen.
FM: Deep! Now, this bit about a world awash in tea. Would Noah be proud?
Alastair: Noah … and Jack & Rose (“Titanic”), and Kevin Costner (“Water World”), and Tom Hanks (“Cast Away”). If they were around, they’d either be proud or sue for copyright inFRINGEment.
FM: Nyuck nyuck nyuck. Now, tell me this: There are huge variations in British humor, from very highbrow to wildly low brow. Which direction does this one take?
Alastair: Someone in Toronto excitedly told us, “That was like walking off the page of a Dr. Seuss book onto the set of Monty Python.” While some elements of the show are so simple your inner critic might think it’s rather childish, our goal with “High Tea” is to ignite the spirit of play within our adult audiences. The medicine is simple, the results are, dare I say, profound!
FM: What do you see as the difference between American humor and British humor.
Alastair: The spelling, obviously. Having been ruled by a monarchy for eons, our identity is tied to a sense of ‘order’ and ‘civility.’ While we encounter the absurd or unexplainable, which we certainly do with “High Tea,” we are caught trying to keep a foot in the arena of order and sensibility. No matter how absurd the circumstance, we “keep calm and carry on.” Hilarious.
FM: Your show is a sequel to last year’s Fringe show — are you planning a series?
Alastair: “High Tea” is the second James & Jamesy adventure we wrote, but not a sequel per se. As for there being a series, you bet! Get ready for James & Jamesy in the Dark at Fringe 2018!
“High Tea: Another British Comedy” is being performed in the Silver Venue in the Orlando Repertory Theater on the following dates:
* Wednesday, May 17 at 6 p.m.
* Saturday, May 20 at 2:45 p.m.
* Sunday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m.
* Wednesday, May 24 at 8:45 p.m.
* Friday, May 26 at 5 p.m.
* Saturday, May 27 at 6:45 p.m.
* Sunday, May 28 at 4:30 p.m.
For tickets visit Orlando Fringe.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com..