Lorna Irvine reviews a performance that is 'decadent, endearing and more fun than is possibly decent'.
On a day when David Cameron got into a spot of bother with an alleged old incident involving a dead pig, sassy cabaret duo Frisky and Mannish have got beef. Yes, it's their mid-career meltdown. Taking their cue from Sinead O' Connor's open letter to Miley Cyrus, they examine a potted history of pop divas losing their shit, very publicly. And it's as wonderfully bitchy and cutting as ever, with new material as shiny as old classics, and as self-aware and sneakily subversive.
It's a formula that is both pastiche and homage to the disposability of pop culture. Frisky (aka Laura Corcoran) is a commanding woman, part Ana Matronic, part Valerie Singleton in her sparkly dress with cut-glass vowels. She's also a classically trained soprano, and her elastic vocals can silence and stun, even as she stalks dominatrix-like around the stage. Mannish, the cute/devilish little Pierrot (real name Matthew Floyd-Jones), is an enormously versatile keyboard player and singer who often wouldn't seem out of place in Vaudeville, with an open expressive face. Their harmonies are gorgeous and new dance routines have become slick.
At once contemporary and steeped in nostalgia, they satisfy two generations of Iggy fans-Pop and Azalea alike. Whether slating pop's patriarchy, or the idiocy of 90s faux-philosophical lyrics, they share a love of the immediacy and glamour of music, but lament the lack of star quality and opinions in the current random iTunes climate.
But it's their individual personalities which really carry the show—both pretty adorable: like stand-up but more creative; cabaret, but prone to arsing around. There's even a Scooby Doo style cliffhanger, where Mannish threatens to walk. What will happen? What do you think?
F & M are very much their own brand now—decadent, endearing and more fun than is possibly decent. They'll never split-up—that'd be ''like... hash tag... totes awkward, babes''. As all ironic, postmodern roller-skating double acts know.
Touring until December 23rd throughout Britain
FRISKY & MANNISH - Madonna Trends: http://youtu.be/GNP3V-DFdXU