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Frisky And Mannish's School Of Pop
Published on Saturday, 15 August 2009

Frisky and Mannish’s School of Pop is a riotously funny showcase for two extremely talented performers, whose skill as musicians, comedians and even dancers left me alternately contorted with laughter and dumb with wonderment over an hour of top-notch entertainment that left all present wanting more.

The duo complement each other excellently: Frisky, a diva, a femme fatale, a vamp, a parade of clichés that don’t fully do her justice, is an astonishing presence in her purple wig, sparkly corset and headmistresses mortar board. As she says herself, in character, “I’m a very good singer,” and she isn’t wrong. Haughty Mannish is the perfect foil, all angular features and aloof peering-down-his-nose (but don’t call him “backing”). The two of them perform a saucy cabaret while at once educating the class of 09/10 in the ways of pop music.

They pick and choose from a broad mix of tunes, reworking them to their own ends. Register is taken at the start of the school day to the sound of Destiny’s Child and Charlie’s Angels, and it moves on from there. Even Chesney Hawkes, the gold standard for ironic pop appreciation (at least before the advent of Rickrolling), gets a look in with a reimagining no less inventive than any other.

If the surprisingly silver-haired middle section of the audience were slightly lost with references to Lady GaGa, the Pussycat Dolls or The Ting-Tings, they were still thrilled by Frisky and Mannish’s interpretation of those works. I, for one, was a bit bemused by sections about Strictly Come Dancing (I’m not a fan), but, throwing themselves about the stage with gay abandon, it was clear that was another string to their bow.

I may also have a soft spot for musical comedy, but this was a sublime example of the form - I can’t think of anything else that would be quite as much fun as this. You’ll laugh, you’ll sing, you’ll dance, and you’ll want detention afterwards. 50 lines, please: I must go see Frisky and Mannish.

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