'In this way I shall preserve many things that would otherwise be lost in oblivion. I shall find daily employment for myself, which will save me from indolence and help to keep off the spleen, and I shall lay up a store of entertainment for my after life.'

For James Boswell posts please follow the labels on the right.

This blog mainly contains reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals from 2008 to 2010 which I wrote for the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. These reviews cover everything from comedy to contemporary dance; children's theatre to Handel.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Frisky and Mannish: School of Pop Review

Frisky and Mannish: School of Pop

Be careful what you call these two hyper-confident cabaret performers. Frisky has been branded a dominatrix (not unreasonably) and Mannish a gay pornographic elf (again, there is a grain of truth here). Nevertheless, we should welcome the two into a modern music scene severely lacking in the excessive glamour and glitter of the Bowie epoch.
  Yet, being a show about modern music, you could be forgiven for expecting a dumbed down, flaky pile of moaning syllables, sex noises and excruciating bass lines. Thankfully Frisky and Mannish are the ones wincing at our lack of musicality, as they prance around the stage of 90s pop culture. Initially they set their sights low – covering ‘Summer of 69’, ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ and That Proclaimers Song. The irony and wit seemed to get a bit lost in translation, however, between the stage and the booze-soaked, neon blonde banshees in the back row.

The deconstruction of the pop music we passively consume by two accomplished musicians is great entertainment. It’s not just the grammatical problems inherent in so many lyrics, it’s also about the speed and style of the tunes. The hollow lyrics of ‘Saturday Night’ suddenly become meaningful when slowed down. Yet Frisky and Mannish are often in danger of indulging their own tastes at the expense of the less musically aware. Who, realistically over the age of 40, has heard of ‘Florence and the Machine’? And considering this is the Fringe, what about over 50? There is absolutely no doubt the Noel Coward and Lilly Allen skit worked so well because most people could actually recognise the artists.

Of course, as anyone who has ever been in a pub without music will know, music is good filler for failing chat up lines and limp conversation. The same point could be levelled at Frisky and Mannish, yet this overlooks the high level of musical ability and genuine talent on display. Extra points for a good pianist and a strong tenor. All good fun, and a responsive audience to top it off. 

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