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EDINBURGH 2022: Joz Norris Q&A

EDINBURGH 2022: Joz Norris Q&A

EDINBURGH 2022: Joz Norris Q&A

BWW catches up with Joz Norris to chat about bringing Blink to the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Tell us a bit about Blink.

Blink is kind of like that time David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. It's the next logical step from that moment. People saw that and probably thought "Wow, well that's it, that's surely as far as magic can go, magic has peaked." But it turns out they were wrong. It can go further. It's actually possible for a really good, cool, fancypants magician to take control of all of reality, and rewrite the inner worlds of an entire audience, as long as things don't backfire. And I've done it. I've figured out how. I had a bit of time on my hands, y'know.

How important was the collaborative process to the show?

Oh, hugely. At the end of 2021 I had an hour of material which was sort of interesting and funny, but a bit of a mess. At the start of 2022 I was lucky enough to get funding from Arts Council England to develop those ideas and assemble an amazing team around them - Ben Target, Miranda Holms, Alex Hardy, Grace Gibson, Robert Wells - and their input and ideas have elevated the show about 10,000% and made it into something so much more than it was. Oh, also, they helped me build a horrible machine that can read people's minds and then rewrite the fabric of reality, so that was helpful of them.

Who would you recommend comes to see it?

Fans of magic. Fans of comedy. Fans of magical comedy. Fans of funny magic. I also found out it plays well at philosophy festivals, surprisingly. Fascinating experience to perform a big dumb over-the-top comedy show to a 200-strong philosophy crowd in a yurt and watch them all thoughtfully nodding their heads and stroking their chins at each successive fart gag.

Are there any other shows you're looking forward to seeing at the festival?

So many! Too many, really. I've been recommending a show a day on my Twitter for the last few weeks, and will continue to do so until the Fringe starts, so people are welcome to go to @JozNorris and scroll through a list of my favourites. Also the singer of King Crimson is doing a theatre show about his lineage and roots, so that'll be good, I bloody love King Crimson.

Having performed at the festival before, do you think you know what to expect from the Fringe?

Yes and no. Every time I do the Fringe, I learn a little bit more about how to feel on top of it, and how to get the most out of it, and so on, but it always manages to find ways to surprise me. Last time I went up I was making a show that was a bit of a creative step forward for me and also functioned as a kind of emotional healing process after a tough time. All I wanted was to come out of it feeling proud of it, and like I'd taken those little steps, and in the end it totally surprised me by becoming one of the big hits of that festival, and winning a big award and so on. I've found that however you try to "plan" for the Fringe, it will find ways of upending your plans, so it's best not to expect anything from it, but just to work hard, be proud, throw yourself into the maelstrom, and see what it brings to you.

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Photo credit: Miranda Holms

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