Mr Chonkers @ Monkey Barrel

John Norris’ Mr Chonkers is chaotic clowning at its very finest

Review by Yasmin Hackett | 08 Aug 2022
  • Mr Chonkers

There’s an aura of mystery surrounding John Norris’ Edinburgh Fringe midnight debut, and you can be forgiven for any uncertainty going into a show with the title Mr Chonkers. Coming out after an hour of it, you still might not be quite sure what it is you’ve just seen, but whatever it is, it's undoubtedly something special. 

It’s a clown show, framed by a loose structure in which Norris is giving his ‘industry debut’ performance as an actor. Norris isn’t a one-trick pony though, and over the course of an hour, he makes sure you know it.

In the best possible way, Mr Chonkers has the feeling of a 10-year-old performing a play to his parents in their living room for the first time. Don’t let that trick you into thinking Norris doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing, and pity the fool that doesn’t take the show seriously. Side-eyes are doled out with relish to any audience member that dares to laugh on such an important occasion. Unsurprisingly, this leads to even more raucous laughter. Norris is a master of these kinds of interactions. With tears already streaming down faces and legitimate shrieks of laughter, the show culminates in a surprise involving a meatball that neatly concludes the performance. Amongst all the mayhem, it’s impressive that the show manages to hold together any level of structural integrity, but it does.

It's genuinely astonishing how much fun Norris manages to pack into an hour. It’s probably not for everyone, but for any lovers of clowning, absurdity or silliness in spades, this is not one to miss. And although it’s difficult to truly sum up Mr Chonkers, it could be the best thing you see this Fringe.

Mr Chonkers, Monkey Barrel (Carnivore 2), until 28 Aug (not 15), 11.55pm, £5-£7 advance, or pay-what-you-can at venue