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Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Frisky and Mannish School of Pop

Frisky & Mannish

Venue: Belly Dancer - Underbelly, Box Office: 0844 545 8252,


Low Down

Frisky and Mannish shake a cocktail of pop classics together to reinvent their own frenetic dirty martini concoction of juxtaposed creations.

Forget burlesque or traditional cabaret evenings, Frisky and Mannish School of Pop turns popular music completely on its head. This cabaret duo take the cabaret art form to a whole new level of cool.


I am scared to offer up a bog standard rave review quote to Frisky and Mannish in case they add it to the plethora of quotes already heavily parodied in the duo’s hilarious version of the Ting Ting’s That’s Not My Name. Yet secretly I would be thrilled at a mention so there will be a cacophony of quotable lines just in case! Frisky and Mannish (be careful not to mix them up) are a quirky and very talented duo who carve up pop songs and mould them back together with what looks like effortless abandon. This is a highly unpredictable, but mindblowingly original cabaret concept, where Lily Allen meets Kate Bush, Strictly Come Dancing gets a modern pop twist, questions are asked, the sorting hat might pick you and Girls Aloud get nursery rhymed. All this and more is all framed around a school day and expulsion will definitely be on the cards if you miss this show!

Frisky & Mannish cannot be dismissed as cabaret or pop, or both or either. They are in fact just themselves, a whole new brand of musical madness, which careers through the pop canon without pause for breath. With no apologies and a slick breakneck pace they break every song rule in the book with great panache, and their offerings are met over and over again by rapturous applause and laughter.

It is difficult to tear your eyes away from Frisky; all glistening corsets, embellished mortar boards and bright purple bob. Mannish has a quirky quiff charmingly topped with a top hat frame and could never be as one of their songs suggest just the supporting act backing man. Without him, Frisky wouldn’t be quite the same dynamic diva; oozing charm Mannish is simply crucial to the whole outfit.

We are asked to join in the school song and yet unlike other audience participation this feels totally natural and let’s face it if Headmistress Frisky asks you to do something, you do it. We breeze through Assembly, spelling tests, IT class and at the end of the school day I feel like I have a whole new understanding of pop history and for the most part, it seems, almost the entire audience feels the same way. However there were two audience members in front of our party who looked baffled to say the least, like they had walked into Bloodbath the Musical when they were meant to be at A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In spite of these two random audience members, it should be said Frisky and Mannish are exceptionally difficult to dislike and deserve to be a permanent fixture on the London scene when August comes to a close.

Felicity Fitz-Frisky showcases an incredible vocal range which is accompanied by the not to be underestimated Hansel Amadeus Mannish who commands attention in his own patch of stage, not content remaining behind the keys he works the floor, as much a diva as his fabulous cohort. This luminescent cocktail of pop gone crazy combines some unusual mixtures and at times they are almost preferable to their original counterparts. Theatrically Frisky and Mannish School of Pop has a great framework and excellent content which is all executed with always inventive and ever witty repartee.

Even if pop does not float your boat, their Rubik’s Cube fuse of songs on speed will leave you stunned at the sheer mind boggle of it all. They leave their audience begging for more, willing them to return for another class tomorrow. Frisky and Mannish’s School of Pop is one school I would die to attend and unlike my own school experience this is one I would never wish to leave! A fabulous diamond, in the rough wilds of the Edinburgh Fringe, a show not to be missed on pain of year round detention.