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Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Frisky and Mannish: Poplab

Frisky and Mannish

Genre: Comedy, Live Music, Musical Theatre

Venue: Assembly


Low Down

Frisky and Mannish, who this year celebrate 10 years since they burst onto the scene with their wildly popular brand of musical infotainment, are back this Fringe. The critically acclaimed cabaret duo are making a welcome return to the live forum with the announcement of a brand new hour entitled ‘Frisky & Mannish’s Pop Lab’, their first new show since 2014.  The show sees a return to the basics with just the two of them and a piano, and is at the Spiegeltent Palais Du Variete at the Assembly George Square Gardens.


Frisky and Mannish are like the Freddie or Elton of the Fringe – right royal legends. It’s hard to believe they’ve been romping over the stages of Edinburgh for a decade (I swear, they look exactly the same as they did when I first encountered them all those years ago). My theory for their ageless-ness is that they are just so full of energy, time has no way of catching up. But make sure you’re fast enough to catch them this Fringe…


The duo don’t veer from their pop-cabaret, or as they describe it “popmusicy-seriocomic-mashparodic-stereophonic-loud-vaudevillian-sketchcabaret-throwbackcurrent-oldfangled-newfashioned-bapsbotty-infotainment” format. But it is refreshing to see them craft a pared-down show with no props other than themselves and a piano, and the odd test tube – which, given their unbeatable talent, is all they really need to set a crowd on fire.


They start by giving some ‘safety’ instructions for the poplab, essentially checking that the audience can make some serious noise. They go on to invite us to explore the results of their recent pop experiments – issues which have plagued pop-observers for ages, such as why are Coldplay so big when everyone says they hate them or who can they rescue from the pop-doldrums in their latest conservation project (this time it was Rick Astley, and the result is an utterly genius piece of improv).


A running theme throughout is how to cure the contagious ‘Tropical House’ virus seeping through the charts – I won’t give away any trade secrets here (respect the scientists people!!) but let’s just say it will make you look at a whole lot of songs in a very different light. The show is a 360 crowd-pleaser, my teenage daughter loved it so much she plans to take all her mates. And the audience was filled with every age group under the sun, and judging by the roars it went down a treat for all.


The whole show is pitch-perfect, and the pair are gorgeously hyper-real to look at, like actual pop stars but on acid (which is never a bad thing on a dreary wet Edinburgh sunday). An hour inside Frisky and Mannish’s ‘Poplab’ is a complete crowd-pleasing riot, which will light up your ears and chuck some serious feel-good energy your way. I dare you not to come away feeling just a tiny bit lighter and brighter.