By Jay Menard
James & Jamesy are Fringe veterans who have built up a sizeable – and passionate – following thanks to their two “Tea” productions. This year, they’ve stripped their production down to the absolute basics: black, white, and light. And the result is something magical in James & Jamesy In the Dark.
It is a comedy, yes. But it can be better described as performance art.
Their ability to use voice and inflection can elicit laughter on its own. And their gifted use of facial expressions is a wonder to behold. But it is the refinement of their movement – the subtle grace and attention to detail – that truly takes their show to the next level.
To wit, the audience sits enraptured watching the simple act of placing a chair on the stage. The meticulous, almost hypnotic movements are compelling.
The use of guttural sounds and non-verbal expressions of amazement are reminiscent of La Linea; and the word play and banter hearken back to the classic “Who’s on First?” routine of Abbott and Costello. But far from being a dated representation, James & Jamesy’s performance is modern and entrancing.
It’s a hard show to describe effectively and adequately. It takes place, mostly, in the dark, illuminated exclusively by giant lights on their heads that resemble a 1970’s-era lampshade. And there’s some audience interaction. But that description almost infantilizes what is truly a mature, well-thought-out, and captivating production.
Don’t remain in the dark. James & Jamesy’s newest show demands to be seen and is a highlight of this year’s Fringe.
This opening weekend review was submitted on behalf of Theatre in London.ca (theatreinlondon.ca)