Joz Norris is Dead…’ is as inventive as it is wonderfully obnoxious. Norris is riding the wave of absurdist/postmodern slapstick that seems to be slowly squeezing its way into the mainstream at the moment. However, this doesn’t deprive him of a feeling of freshness. The show, which he has been trialling for the last year, sees Norris playing the role of ‘Mr Fruit Salad’ a stand-in comedian for Norris’ ‘absence’. The set sees Norris embarking on a joyfully erratic journey of quasi-improvisation and mischievous behaviour.
Something to note is this show’s potentially limited appeal. While most members of the younger generations will likely find much to love, last evenings show saw a handful of the more elderly leave within the first fifteen minutes. This isn’t that surprising though. Norris uses the, again, tried and tested trope of finding humour in the absence of structure and cohesivity, with many subsections of the show spiraling into infinity in a manner most should find elating but which could equally be seen as deeply tedious.
Though that can stomach this approach will find a show loaded with impeccable audience interaction, hugely inventive approach to props and sound and most peculiarly, a strange appreciation for the odd bit of street performer-esque antics. Norris does also, almost surprisingly, splice up his show with the odd bit of genuine introspection and melancholy, adding a sense of weight to the piece without succumbing to self-pity.
This is perhaps the greatest importance of a show such as this. In an age where the bleakness of other media is bleeding into comedy, this type of comedy acts as an antidote to all the doom and gloom. By acknowledging the tragedies of reality, Norris can revel in absurdity without it feeling like an act of escapism but instead a beautifully fully fleshed depiction of the human experience.
On top of that, he’s exceedingly funny.
Louis Boyd Madsen