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Joz Norris

  • Tape 136: Two Brilliant Shows At EdFringe 2024!

Hello! I hope you’re all doing well. How ARE you all? What’s the funniest animal you’ve met in the flesh this week? I’m dying to hear all about it, this newsletter can’t just be a one-way street, you know.

Anyway, it’s just a short one this week, because life has once again become busy (I was briefly nostalgic for the period when I had enough time to bash out a whole story or essay every week for months at a time, but then remembered everything else about the pandemic, and I reckon on balance that being busy is probably better). But I’d like to let you all know about two excellent shows I’m working on which will be coming in work-in-progress form to the Edinburgh Fringe this year!

First up is Edy Hurst’s Wonderfull Discoverie Of Witches In The Countie Of HimselfEdy is a hugely inventive, endlessly likeable comedian who set a standard for ramshackle, ridiculous, over-the-top pieces of comedy theatre with 2022’s Edy Hurst’s Comedy Version Of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of H.G. Wells’ Literary Version Of “The War Of The Worlds” (Via Orson Welles’ Radio Version And Steven Spielberg’s Film Version)He’s following it up with an exploration of the Lancashire witch trials, neurodiversity and the Vengaboys’ Party Album which merges theatre, storytelling and musical vision quests as he seeks out cosmic explanations for why he doesn’t fit in.

I’ve been working on this show with him since last year and it’s a really fun, inventive and original way of exploring neurodiversity onstage that also shines a light on the tragic history of the Lancashire witches. It’s being made with support from the Lowry Theatre in Salford and Arts Council England, and will be touring from October into 2025.

Secondly, I’m working with Cerys Bradley on Queer Tales For Autistic Folkan interactive choose-your-own storytelling show (we’re not allowed to say “choose-your-own-adventure” because it’s a trademark apparently, oops I just said it) that explores the lands between the neurodiverse experience and Welsh folk myths. I directed Cerys’s debut show Sportsperson in 2022, which was about gender and being non-binary when playing team sports and won the Neurodiverse Review Autistic Excellence Award. Cerys made a follow-up show last year which I wasn’t involved with but was directed by the brilliant Elf Lyons, but we’ve reunited this year to build this show up slowly for a full launch in 2025.

As I think I’ve mentioned in this newsletter before, I spent a lot of lockdown rediscovering my childhood love of choose-your-own-adventure books and non-linear roleplaying games in general, so Cerys’s pitch for this new show aligned so closely with a lot of the ideas I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of years that it felt like the perfect project for us to work together on again. It’ll be playing at Machynlleth Comedy Festival in a few weeks as its first outing, so if you’ll be in town for that do come along and help it to take shape before its WIP run at the Fringe!

I’ve had to be careful about how much directing work I take on this year as I’m also trying to divide my time between scriptwriting, acting and making a new live solo show, so I’m not working on any shows that will be doing the full run this year. However, I’m already so proud of the work I’ve done on these two shows, and on the work Edy and Cerys have done in putting them together. They’re already shaping up to be really fun, inventive, brilliant pieces of work by wonderful artists and it’s my pleasure to be working on them. Do book your tickets to them if you’re going to be up in Edinburgh for the Fringe!

I’ll also be bringing one other WIP show to the Fringe in August, but more on that another time…

And finally, my books are full for full-on directing projects, but as we inch nearer to the Fringe, I am available for one-off creative consultancy sessions where I watch a preview of your show, make extensive notes then work through them with you to explore what’s working, what might need a bit of tweaking to really deliver its potential, and so on. My rates are flexible according to project budgets, so if you’re working on something and would like to discuss collaborating on it, do let me know and let’s see if we can figure something out!

A Cool New Thing In Comedy – They’ve announced the line-up for the third annual BBC Comedy Festival, this time in Glasgow at the end of May! There are talks by such legends as Armando Iannucci, Jennifer Saunders and Reece Shearsmith & Steve Pemberton, among others. It was a really fun couple of days last year and I’m looking forward to returning – hopefully see you there if you’re planning on going too!

What’s Made Me Laugh The Most – I saw Chris Lynam for the first time at Troy Club last week, having somehow managed to never cross paths with him at gigs before. Oh my God he’s funny. I’ve been replaying him shouting “Fuck off” at a trio of apples for days, and he’s got a joke about a babygro that is maybe the best joke I’ve ever heard in my life. He’s so, so good.

Book Of The Week – Currently reading Night Boat To Tangier by Kevin Barry, which is about two Irish mobsters tracking down one of their daughters. Only just started it, but it’s very atmospheric and good so far.

Album Of The Week – Songs by Adrianne Lenker. I’m going to see PJ Harvey in August, and she’s being supported by Big Thief, so I thought I’d listen to a bit of Big Thief. That has now spiralled beyond Big Thief’s own discography into the solo discography of lead singer-songwriter Adrianne Lenker, whose songs are amazing. I could listen to this album for days.

Film Of The Week – Not seen any films this week, still recovering from Robot Dreams.

That’s all for this week! As ever, please do let me know your thoughts, and if you enjoy the newsletter enough to send it to a friend or encourage others to subscribe, I’d hugely appreciate it! Take care of yourselves until next time,

Joz xx

PS I have no plans to actually charge for this newsletter or put it behind a paywall, but I do write it for free and the comedy and media industries are in a perilous state right now, especially for freelancers. If you value the Therapy Tapes and enjoy what they give to you, and want to support my work and enable me to keep writing and creating, you can make a one-off donation to my Ko-Fi account, and it’s very gratefully appreciated.

PPS Look at this cool guy I met:

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