Frisky & Mannish have solidified their reputation at the Fringe with sell out shows since 2009 in some of the largest venues at the festival. Celebrating ten years of lovingly deconstructing the pop charts, they’re back with another fabulous show at Assembly. On stage they are Felicity Fritz Frisky and Hansel Amadeus Mannish, but in the comfy surrounds of the Loft Bar, they are better known as Laura Corcoran-Hilton and Matthew Floyd Jones.
People are sometimes surprised when they find out that I don’t particularly like pop.
How’s your Fringe going?
L: So far, it’s gorgeous. I don’t know if it’s just because the sun keeps shining, which is totally unprecedented. Or, if it’s just because of the circumstances of having a five-month old baby in tow.
How has that been?
L: It could go one of two ways. It could either make everything a total nightmare or a total dreamboat. At the moment it’s on the dreamboat side.
M: I hate the sun. so actually, my sunshine is the baby. She’s the sunshine of my life.
L: Oh stop it!
What is Frisky & Mannish? How would you describe what you do to someone who has no idea about the act?
L: We’ve being doing this for eleven years now and you’d think that this would have come up before and it has, and yet... When you say what it is, it’s nothing; basically we take pop songs and we reimagine them. It’s everything else that comes with it that makes it Frisky & Mannish. It’s something that flows from us both so unconsciously in many ways that it’s really difficult to identify. It’s essentially us dressed up like idiots but fashionable.
M: Fashion with a bit of cabaret.
L: And we throw everything at it that we can possibly think of.
M: I don’t really feel that Mannish is separate from me. It’s weird to me when people ask if I’m coming to an event as Matthew or Mannish because I feel that Mannish is just me doing our material with the costume on. I don’t think of him as having a separate personality, it’s just the way I am when I’m being silly in my real life. Whereas, you are quite different to Frisky; you have a different accent to her but it still feels like a very fruity heightened versions of ourselves in fabulous clothes. Purely for the entertainment and provocation of the audience and not to make them feel bad.
L: We kind of did do that once.
M: We did a three night run of a very dark show. We were both 27 and we wanted to look at all the musicians who died at 27 and this weird cult that’s grown around them and even then we ended with Laura in a white angel dress singing Amy Winehouse to Copacabana! We have a positive, party vibe in our heads that we want to create.
L: You once described us as glazed Christmas hams which pretty much summarises all that.
The way you take songs and re-imagine them is clearly done with love. You often take songs that are objectively bad and you somehow make them awesome.
L: We wouldn’t bother if there wasn’t something you could do with it. Whether it’s the cultural capital of it and what it makes people think of or musically or lyrically something that’s inherent in it that makes it really fun. It has to already, in some way, be fun before we’ll even touch it.
M: It’s a compliment if we choose it!
L: The worst thing you can do in pop is be boring.
Ed Sheeran makes a good career out of being a fairly dull pop star.
M: He is a big part of show this year so there’s something in there. Sometimes the boringness is its own characteristic that you can latch on to in a ridiculous way.
Is it possible for you to just listen to the radio or is it always analytical?
L: I think this is why we had to have a few years off. Your brain starts working in an over-analytical way and you become a bit obsessed with the new and pop music is about the songs you know, the songs that bore down into you. We needed to graduate from Radio 1 to Radio 2.
M: I think people are sometimes surprised when they find out that I don’t particularly like pop and don’t listen to the radio. Whenever we come to write a new show, Laura has to take me through a few things. She’ll play a song and I’ll go, “oh, yeah” so I’m a good benchmark for somebody who is maybe 30 years older or from a different country because I live in an old music world.
What is Frisky & Mannish’s 'must dance' tune?
F: My absolute jam for the last year and a half is Bruno Mars and Cardi B’s Finesse. It’s so 90’s, it’s so fly and it’s an absolute bop.
M: And baby Frisky, her favourite bop is...
F: Yes! She genuinely has musical tastes already, this child of mine. Her absolute bop is Gloria Estefan, Get On Your Feet. You can sing that to her acapella, you can play it to her on the piano and she recognises that melody.
M: She smiles and she bops.
F: And she has a little dance.
M: So sweet.