Dark humour isn’t in short supply this Fringe - in case you hadn’t noticed, celebrity and political news of late has had a tangible effect on performers. That’s what happens when you find topical comedy in 2016, we’re all learning. Norris & Parker take it to the next level: they’re going full-on gallows humour and dragging everybody down there with them.
Norris and Parker possess an inherent talent for presenting a slick and startling sketch show which still has the audience lost for words at the odd punch line.
Accompanied this year by a new addition in the form of a suitably creepy Victorian pianist, an introductory dirge transforms into a great anthem for the next extreme wave of feminism. The duo are on point with their opening number, a sturdily choreographed routine which takes a dig at the absurd turns activism can take. The overall feel to See You at the Gallows is polished and smooth, a technically slick production value running throughout. The interaction with Steph the techie might be part of that: brought to the fore, Steph becomes a further wedge between Norris and Parker as the duo’s differences threaten to tear them apart by the end of the hour.
This duo have a strong dynamic and aren’t afraid to get real with one another about their relationship: the candour with which they interact has the audience questioning where the sketch show ends and their real life anecdotes begin. They’re also more than happy to get up close and personal with the audience: Parker attempts a love connection with a bemused member of the front row (my boyfriend, no less) which leads to an outrageous tribute to Kate Bush.
In a departure from last year’s offering All of Our Friends are Dead, the focus of this year’s show is more on musical comedy than sketch. The sketches they do perform are filled with larger than life characters, providing a good hit rate with jokes pitched at the bizarreness of the people within the world they’ve created. A sketch from last year is improved with an alternate ending and it’s clear Norris & Parker are a constantly evolving beast. A parody of murder mystery police dramas is a little rote, although the character dynamic is fantastic and uncomfortable in equal measure. Whereas the songs are less memorable than last year’s offering, Norris and Parker possess an inherent talent for presenting a slick and startling sketch show which still has the audience lost for words at the odd punch line.