Burn the Witch
Debauched late-night sketch comedy for lovers of the strange, the sordid, the musical and the dark.
The witching hour is upon you. The hotly anticipated brand-new hour from Norris & Parker. Their 2016 hit See You at the Gallows featured in The Guardian’s top ten best comedy shows of the year.
Katie Norris and Sinead Parker met on the Acting course at the Manchester Met School of Theatre in 2009.
Their friendship was a slow burner, first impressions led to Sinead thinking Katie was a sociopath and had over indulged on the St Tropez and sex. Katie thought Sinead was boring, highly-strung and definitely frigid.
However, upon discovering they shared a birthday (26th February) they had no choice but to organize a joint celebration (for Sinead knew if they had had separate parties no one would have gone to hers) and headed to Manchester’s finest sausage fest, the Comedy Store. Katie howled at the male standup’s testosterone fuelled one-liners whilst Sinead sat stony faced like a true feminist sporting an angry cold sore.
Their first term at drama school was a brutal introduction to Polish theatre featuring mountain hiking, two hours runs in the dark with no water or toilet breaks, stick and ball throwing and voodoo chanting which was all dictated by a merciless Geordie werewolf named Gabriel. Gabriel was the sort of man who would refuse a local anesthetic to have a tooth removed because he found perverse pleasure in the pain. Once he threw a tennis ball straight into Katie’s face and refused to apologize, because why should he?
Gabriel also cast the pair as Viola and Olivia in a scene study of ‘Twelfth Night’. He would chase them round the acting studio manically plucking one string of his guitar whilst draining all the joy out of Shakespeare’s most famous comedy.
After being sent home under strict instructions to explore the sexual tension in the scene, the naïve and eager to please students headed to Sinead’s flat for an evening rehearsal armed with copious amounts of wine. Tentatively they liberated themselves by taking off their clothes, dancing to Kate Bush and rehearsing Shakespeare in the nude.
But from that a friendship built on an affinity for nudity, wine and eighties music was born.
However their biggest passion of all was for comedy. They discovered a love for The League of Gentlemen, Father Ted, Julia Davis (Nighty Night, Hunderby), Chris Morris (Brass Eye, Jam) and Peep Show.
But it was not until one fateful Easter performing in a play at the Bolton Octagon did the idea of creating comedy of their own become a reality…
“The Demolition Man” was a play about the life and times of Fred Dibnah starring Michelle Collins (Cindy Beale from Eastenders) as his wife, Sheila. Sinead played ‘Butch Camerawoman’ and Katie played the wildly different role of ‘Butch PA’. None of the cast bothered to learn their names apart from Michelle who was overly fond of calling Sinead ‘Siobhan’. The third member of the TV Crew was 43 year old mature student Barrington Hall who played ‘Butch Boom Operator”. Whilst on stage Barrington Hall would whisper into their ears,
“Do you take it up the shitter?”
This was an attempt to make the girls laugh.
To make things worse, one night whilst messing around in their dressing room trying on Michelle Collin’s hair extensions they missed their one and only cue. Fred Dibnah was furious, “You’ll never work in this town again!”(they didn’t… but as it was Bolton, it was no great loss) …and so they turned to comedy and thus began their own adventure as ‘Norris & Parker’
After graduating from drama school the duo shacked up together in the murky Mancunian depths of Ardwick. They were accepted into the local community almost immediately, when scallies on bikes informed them that they both had “big batties” and they didn’t know “which big batty to smash first.” Norris felt empowered, Parker felt offended but her self esteem was so low she bent over and thanked them for their kind words.
Once, on their way to Tesco to buy a salad in an unusual attempt at being healthy, they stopped off at their local pet shop and bought a bunny that they originally named “Bunny”. After it chewed through the wires, showing them no affection whatsoever and shitting everywhere, Bunny was rehomed a month later. To this day, this is the most irresponsible thing they’ve ever done.
Over the following year bar jobs were found, washing up neglected, glandular fever was caught and hearts were broken, all whilst gigging regularly on the Manchester circuit. This led to them taking their first show ‘All Our Friends Are Dead’ to Edinburgh and subsequently performing it at the Lowry.
Then followed a year long hiatus as Norris left to tread the boards in the rep season at Theatre by the Lake playing a maid, a whore and a wench whilst Parker played a maid, a nurse and a ghost for the National Trust.
They were reunited on a three week backpacking adventure around Thailand where they became addicted to Valium and saw things at a ping pong show that can never be unseen. Upon their return they took a pimped up version of ‘All Our Friends are Dead’ to Edinburgh, performing it at Just the Tonic at the Caves.
This resulted in sell out shows, a growing cult reputation as fearless performers and skilled writers and a signing with Christian Knowles Management. They then made the big move to London seeking fame, fortune, reasonably priced rent and fresh air.
Norris soon developed pollution related acne and Parker acquired a fear of terrorism on the central line but they have put this to one side to prepare for their hotly anticipated second debut hour at the Edinburgh Fringe…