Rarely does something so completely off the chain also seem like a meticulously planned passion project. However, this is exactly what Long Live Mr Fruit Salad feels like. After being treated to a brief game of ‘find Mr Fruit Salad,’ you are launched into a cavern of absurdity with strange humour that nonetheless should have you rolling on the floor.
Beneath the goofing lies the tell-tale signs of a heartfelt creation. One with a long ginger beard and suspicious sunglasses. With the Hive walls closing in on you, you really do feel trapped with… whatever he is, as he delivers his set with a deep raspy voice. The crowd may at first be unsure how to deal with such a bizarre character. Fairly quickly though, Norris’ creation has almost everyone cackling uncontrollably as he clambers through the hour.
Mr Fruit Salad has such peculiar humour, based less on punchlines and more on movement or recurring jokes. One gaff is repeated constantly, yet is funny every single time thanks to Norris choosing his moments beautifully. Some utterly golden bits, including one with ambient music, has the whole room in hysterics. Norris’ awareness of Mr Fruit Salad’s implausibility is used to full effect, pulling off ridiculous statements and acts like they come naturally to him. His strangeness might not be for everyone, but enough of the crowd realise the method behind the madness for Mr Fruit Salad to be a seriously good time.
There are darker moments towards the end that deal with death and mental wellbeing, but even these are littered with irresistible comedy and towards the finale Norris implies just how much thought and time went into the show. For all its oddities, you can’t help but admire Mr Fruit Salad. It is beset with clever ideas beneath a surface level of preposterousness. Norris has risen to be one of the festival’s most capable and quirky comedians, and one with a wonderfully wacky imagination.