Regular readers here on the Fiction Stroker will know that I’m a big supporter of Norris and Parker’s quirky brand of surreal comedy. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to preview their new Edinburgh show, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
You know that you’re probably in for a treat when someone’s laughing before the performers have even come on but when Norris (Katie, actress and soprano) and Parker (Sinead, sci-fi fringe siren and.. non soprano) opened with a hilarious barb at the Manchester International Festival, the laughs just kept on coming.
The sketches that follow take in swipes at, well nearly everything, from the Tory hell we live in to the ineffectiveness of Guardian Soulmates through to perhaps the funniest reworking of ‘Circle of Life’ you’re likely to hear. One highlight is Mancademy, the UK’s premier training school to turn boys into men resulting in a unnervingly stern Norris putting Parker through ‘his’ paces.
Norris and Parker’s world is filled with strange characters including Giles and his long-suffering asthmatic wife Anne whose incessant whining is like ‘Chinese water torture’ through to Irish farmer Paddy who accidentally gambled away his wife Kay and Pat Sharp lookalike Brian who is resplendent in eighties denim. One new addition to the on-stage team is their manager, Amanda, who brings a new dynamic and certainly keeps Norris and Parker on their toes. As ever, the more surreal things get, the funnier the result.
On a technical level, the team have come up with a number of innovative bridging sequences to mask the obvious changes in costume. I won’t spoil them here, but needless to say, it’s refreshing to see some innovation and thought used.
The trio are also wonderfully self-deprecating of themselves. Norris at one point deadpanning to the audience: “Sorry about my camel toe”. This self-deprecation is one thing that makes Norris and Parker so entertaining for me – they don’t take themselves as seriously as some other comedy acts do. The resulting act feels fresh, lively and fun as a result.
Sure, the overall package isn’t fully polished, but neither should it be. Part of the appeal is the raw talent on show here. Anarchic, funny and importantly fun, Norris and Parker deserve an hour of your time at the Edinburgh and Camden Fringes. A slice of French and Saunders mixed with the zaniness of Reeves and Mortimer makes for one of the most promising double acts of recent times.
The Fiction Stroker gives Norris and Parker: All of Our Friends are Dead five strokes out of five:
Check out Norris and Parker’s upcoming gigs including 3MT, Manchester (27 July); Camden Fringe (29th/30th July) and Edinburgh (4-24th Aug) here. If you’re feeling generous, you can also help to fund their trip to Edinburgh here. Main photo by Sam Edge.