By Ron Bingham
The latest show from Katie Norris and Sinead Parker is filthy. The story they share is set in the little village of Phallus Ridge and it involves the evil influence of a coven of sex witches who lure men (and women and goats) up to the Penis Cliffs and perform unspeakable acts upon them. You get the gist.
Burn The Witch is a play in three parts, with the “intervals” being filled by each of our heroines recounting the tragic break-up they had this year. Katie sings a song about hers, which is called Voodoo Pussy, while Sinead belts out “Dirty Old Slut” to underscore her tragedy. Their on-stage musician, Huge Davies, also manages to sneak in a few musical asides (and attempts to score with audience members). They play a variety of characters from the village in the telling of their tale, from the pub landlord to a school librarian and a broken-down unemployed woodchopper.
The duo are keen to get the audience involved, with a little, though not scary, audience participation. It doesn’t matter where you sit, as they are not scared to roam the audience looking for the right victim.
There was a full house for the show I saw (although some had to be dragged away from the bars, meaning we started five minutes late), and we all certainly got our money’s worth in comedy, song and dirty dancing. If you are not easily offended, this is an excellent way to round off the day’s Festivaling, with two talented yet slightly crazy ladies and a disorganised back-up musician.
Norris & Parker perform Burn The Witch at The Pleasance Courtyard til August 26
By Ron Bingham
Norris and Parker are two confident young women who are very talented and have created an impressive double act. I enjoyed their debut show last year (All Our Friends are Dead), and this is billed as their second debut show. They are definitely worth second look, but unfortunately, I hate to tell them, that, despite the brilliant show they have created, they won’t be in the running for Best Newcomers this year.
For their second Debut Katie Norris and Sinead Parker have added a gentleman pianist Kristoff ( Chris Thomson), a very bleak and black hipster Victorian character. The girls perform See You at the Gallows in black bodysuits, adding costumes as the sketches require. We start with a rousing tongue in cheek sketch about femiNazis, gain a little insight into the personal lives of our hosts and see a two act play that is a Cornish cannibal murder mystery romance drama. There are a couple of funny songs (warning: not all of the people on stage have excellent voices), a very tiny bit of audience interaction – well actually there is a huge segment of audience interaction but I wasn’t picked so I enjoyed it for once. There is also one sketch I remember Norris and Parker performing in their last show, but it was the excellent Jackie Cooper-Clarke routine, so it was well worth a repeat airing.
As the title of the show suggests, the comedy is on the dark side of the spectrum. Lots of sexual innuendo as well as saucy dance numbers and tales of fractured relationships, lots of double act type shouty bickering and a little swearing. The writing and comedy acting are impressively good, as is the interaction between the three main cast members. There were only a few problems with props and costume changes which will fade as the run proceeds. The important thing is that Norris and Parker know what they are doing and that is making a seriously entertaining Festival show for a smart audience with a penchant for black humour.
The room is very small, and like most Edinburgh Fringe venues, extremely hot, it sold out first night and will no doubt continue to do so.
See You at the Gallows is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until August 28
By Ron Bingham
Wow! This was brilliant. Katie Norris and Sinead Parker perform a bewildering variety of characters in this show, using a rack of costumes, as well as singing (or butchering in one case) some parodies of songs, and keeping a thread of frustration and need bubbling throughout the show. They take us on a dark journey through history and the minds of some strange people while fighting one another for the love of an audience member and the desperate need for a proper job (rather than the vile demeaning job of a “female comedy double act” which is, apparently, what happens to failed “proper” actors).
The audience, and it was a good sized audience, were in tears at some of the characters, especially the teacher (Miss Cuntingham) and poet (Julie Cooper-Clarke), the How To Make A Man Of You sessions, dragging an (overly enthusiastic) audience member onto the stage and dubbing him Henry the VIII (he was very happy to give them his phone to get their numbers) and the battle between a generic Eastern European dance diva and a generic Southern belle.
There was no break or let up in the comedy and the show was so well structured that the hour just flew by. If you wish to be impressed by a pair of filthy, funny and feisty femmes taking over an hour of your life to make you roll on the floor laughing, then you must book a ticket to see this show. Word of mouth seems to be filling the shows up, so I recommend buying a ticket and getting along to see them ASAP.