Five minutes with… comedy duo Norris and Parker

Published: Thursday 8th December 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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We caught up with Katie Norris, 50% of the fantastically sordid Norris and Parker. Their new show See You At The Gallows runs at Hull Truck Theatre from 14-17 December.

What can audiences expect from the show?

See You At The Gallows is a sketch, character musical and comedy show that we’ve been working on for about a year. It’s quite dark, it’s quite musical, and it’s quite silly!

It features original music by Chris Thompson. We’ve got a pianist who plays live on the show too. It’s a mixture of storytelling and music.

We’ve read about some of your bizarre characters, including Feminazis and an 80s police duo. Can you tell us a little bit more about these personalities and the inspiration behind them?

There’s Norris and Parker, who are heightened versions of me and Sinead. We delve deep into our own lives, arguing with each other and singing songs about how sh** life can be. For example, I sing a song about my relationships at the moment.

There are also scenes and sketches where we go to a completely different world, such as a detective and his assistant trying to uncover the infamous case of Barry the Cannibal. Barry cooks and eats the residents of Wetherby in the back of his catering van. It’s dark and silly humour and it was inspired by an 80s crime documentary on the Yorkshire Ripper.

Then we have the Feminazis, inspired by a term coined by a national newspaper. When we found out that they’d referred to some hard-core feminists this way, we knew we had to make a musical about it. The original song that we wrote is quite satirical.

There’s so many more, but we don’t want to give too much away.

What inspired you to become a performer?

We met at drama school at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2009. After discovering that we had the same birthday (26 February), we got to know each other more and more. We discovered that we had quite a lot in common, including dark and silly humour. We both love The League of Gentlemen, Father Ted and Nighty Night.

We just thought: “How cool would it be to write and perform our own stuff?” Our first show was six years ago, and it just sort of flew from there really.

Loads of people love our shows and say how much chemistry Sinead and I have on stage. We’re best mates, like sisters really. We write well together and bounce ideas off one another; it just works.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part has got to be the actual performing. Making an audience laugh is an incredible experience.

It’s such a good feeling when something goes wrong and the audience knows it’s gone wrong, but you come back from it and everyone is in on the joke.

And what’s the worst part of your job?

We have to do a lot of stand-up comedy nights, but our show is a different type of format. Getting on stage after a stand-up comedian, when people are expecting a similar type of performance, it can be hard. People will be like “What the hell is this?” because it’s completely different to what they were expecting.

That’s a bit isolating and alienating to be honest, especially when you’re a woman. When you’re on a bill with 15 male comedians, it’s hard to find our place.

Have you found it difficult being a female comedy duo, as opposed to a male double act?

We’ve never found it hard. Our performance always does really well and people love our show. But there aren’t as many women doing it and that’s frustrating.

Finally, why should people come out to see Norris and Parker?

We love Hull. We’re obsessed with Hull. We come up quite a lot because we’re Supported Artists at Hull Truck Theatre. We love the Hull Truck audience!

Our show is a great night out, so bring your family and friends along.

See You At The Gallows runs at Hull Truck Theatre from Wednesday 14 until Saturday 17 December. Tickets are £12.50 and can be purchased by calling the box office on 01482 323638, or you can book online.

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Published: Thursday 8th December 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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