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PRETENDING THINGS ARE A COCK What a cock-up


Never in her wildest imagination did Millie Norrish expect to be handed the Cock-torch of Pretending Things Are A Cock. The show is a product of a critically acclaimed comedian’s three years of global wandering, a combination of artistic, phallic-filled photographic display with hilarious and surprisingly heart-wrenching tales… now appointed to a person without a cock at all. Ahead of performing at The Little Palais at The Pleasure Gardens from Friday, January 14 to Sunday, January 30, KWANWOO HAN caught up with Millie Norrish to find out how she came to assume the role and why she can’t wait to take it on.

Congrats on bringing Pretending Things are Cock to Fringe 2022! How does it feel to present the show this year?

To be honest, very nerve-racking! I have been involved in the film and stage industry starting out through acting, but in recent years mostly behind the camera and art direction. I did start on stage and this has really informed the work I do now, however it is going to be my first Fringe season performing in comedy.

I am thankful to have Jon’s mentorship, as well as other great friends in the comedy scene that are working with me to build my confidence in the production of this show – but I think no matter if it is building sets or performing in front of people there will be a level of anxiety and nerves.

This I don’t believe to be a bad thing… a healthy amount of anxiety means you care! I have been working with Jon, then original writer and concept creator of the show to ensure that the show is presented with a fresh perspective and in a new light with a myself being a female performer.

For those who don’t know, what is Pretending Things Are a Cock about?

Pretending Things Are a Cock is a storytelling comedy show. The concept and original show is by critical acclaimed comedian Jon Bennett, and this version is co-written by the both of us. Jon spent four years travelling the world…pretending famous world monuments are his cock, but behind every cock is a story – and this is what the show is about!

How do you know Bennett?

I met Jon Bennett working Front of House for one of his Fringe show seasons. As I was also involved in media and communications for other shows, which meant we spent most of our clocked off hours together after his show finished at the artist bar! We became very close friends and have kept in contact ever since, spending most our time together whenever we are in the same city.

When he visited Perth last we really solidified our friendship, going on holiday together and working on small projects. We even have each others signatures tattooed on each other! I guess we are both insane like that.

He is someone that I have clicked with since the get go, and I find hilarious and inspiring to be around. Our friendship feels very wholesome and I am excited to see him again when the borders open up. He is currently doing a residency in Portland and I hope to visit and catch some more of his shows soon, he is truly amazing on stage.

So how was the show passed to you and how do you feel about carrying that torch?

The show was passed on to me in a discussion of equity, friendship and love. Before Jon left to America, we were in the middle of a sobbing goodbye and it felt very surreal that I may not see him for a very long time. I discussed with him my eagerness to one day perform again, and how I feel my life has changed since I took the back seat and worked behind the stage.

Tears streaming down both our faces, he asked me if I would do the show. At first I was hesitant as Jon is amazing and they are hard shoes to fill. But myself doing the show isn’t so much about filling Jon’s shoes, but about equity. Having a female present what was known as a masculine show is reshaping it in a progressive light.

What differences should the audience expect between Bennett’s performance and yours? What should they look forward to?

The show is quite different! Although based on a lot of Jon’s stories, it is a representation of me and my personality, merging things that have happened to the both of us together to let my own truth shine through. The show has a ‘feministic’ approach and has a lot to do with the nature of my friendship with Jon and our interactions.

What about you? What are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to performing again and mostly having the opportunity as a female to do this show. I think it is a really beautiful progression of the show allowing females a space to perform something which was quite masculine and rework it as their own. My hope is that the audience has an open mind if having seen the show before, as it will definitely be different, and shown in a different light!

Will you continue presenting Pretending Things Are a Cock in the future?

We will have to see how it goes and how the show is received! I think females doing this show is a natural progression that the show should take, but maybe the cock torch will be handed on, and keep moulding? It is something I am not opposed to, but only time will tell.

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