sun 08/12/2019

Frisky and Mannish, Touring | reviews, news & interviews

Frisky and Mannish, Touring

Frisky and Mannish, Touring

The visually striking duo perform bitchily accurate musical spoofs with aplomb

Frisky and Mannish first came to prominence at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe, where School of Pop was a breakout hit with almost universal five-star reviews and quickly became the must-see show of the festival. Now they are touring with their follow-up show, The College Years (which I saw at the 606 Club in Chelsea in London), which they describe as an education in the deeper meaning of song lyrics.

The hour-long show is delivered as if a college lecture, in which Frisky, dressed in tight basque and sporting a bright-red wig and RP vowels, is the severe schoolmarm of many a public schoolboy’s fantasies, and Mannish, with his heavy New Romantic eye make-up and quiet asides, looks like the kindly art teacher you once had a pash on. She's all condescending bossiness and he plays the wimpy straight man, but when the music starts you realise that Mannish is an accomplished keyboardist and Frisky has a stunning vocal range.

They tell us the show centres on collision theory, and Frisky and Mannish proceed to explore any number of unusual duos in pop that exist purely in their imagination (actually Mariah Carey and Westlife is a fact but really should be imaginary). The clever construct means they can do all manner of musical mash-ups - highlights are Lily Allen and Noël Coward riffing in each others’ sty-lee, Shirley Bassey and Dizzee Rascal seeing who can contort their vowels to more ridiculous effect - and the set-to between 1990s one-hit wonder Mark Morrison and X Factor’s Diana Vickers exchanging meaningless garbled syllables is stonkingly good. Some of the these set pieces could appear cruel if they weren’t done with such affection and performed with such aplomb.

The show is performed apace but don’t worry if references whizz by, as there’ll be several more coming along shortly. Their detailed spoof of Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine) - “My songs are about art and philosophy” - subtly and gloriously debunks the navel-contemplating nonsense that passes for lyrics in some circles, and the duo cleverly find strangely close comparisons between some performers’ “new” songs and material that’s been around for a while.

Their version of the Tings Tings’ “That’s Not My Name” - Frisky and Mannish get called all manner of things, as you might imagine - in which they quote descriptions of themselves in Fringe reviews, is perhaps a touch too self-referential; festival humour is often about in-jokes but rightly goes over the heads of most people beyond the month of August outside Scotland’s capital city. But that’s a very small caveat about a show filled with camp charm and a large degree of musical know-how.

Watch Frisky and Mannish perform "That's Not My Name" (YouTube):

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Comments

I saw some of their vids in youtube and i think they are one of the best out there... they are twisted but in a very interesting way...

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