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Arts Festival Review: Frisky and Mannish

Arts Festival Review: Frisky and Mannish

Review by Alastair Thompson

Frisky and Mannish. Photo:
Rosie Collins
Photo: Rosie Collins

Frisky and Mannish
Pacific Blue Festival Club
18 – 20 March

Interpreting pop lyrics in frightening new ways is at the heart of UK comedy duo Laura Corcoran and Matthew Jones' Pacific Blue Festival Club show "Frisky and Mannish - The School of Pop."

The Bangle's Eternal Flame is morphed into a song about obsessive possessive love - which the lyrics seem to fit alarmingly well. Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights gets a Lily Allen style east-end interpretation which also strangely seems to fit all too snugly with the lyric, "Heathcliffe, it’s me Cathy. I've come home."

Lily Allen returns later in the set for a sing-off with Noel Coward - he doing an interpretation of one of her hits followed by a fantastic rendition of Coward's I Went To A Marvellous Party with a Lily Allen melody. The lesson from this appears to be that the lyrics are quite interchangeable and work perfectly well with each others melodies.

And Meatloaf's I Would Do Anything For Love -But I Won't Do That when sung in the voice of a pre-pubescent child has an entirely different meaning.

This show is classy comedy which has you at the edge of your seat belly laughing for an hour.

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Frisky and Mannish wowed audiences at the Edinburgh festival in 2009 winning several awards and have since toured the UK and Australia before touching down in Wellington for three days only.

The show begins with a cacophony of pop excerpts before Frisky and Mannish take to the stage and begin their lessons in popular culture, Mannish with a keyboard and Frisky simply with a mic.

The tutoring starts with an announcement that the audience is being auditioned for the school, and a brief singing trial is initiated. Later everybody is whisked to their feet to do some dancing and get into the mood.

What follows is both enormously entertaining and enlightening.

Frisky and Mannish are brilliantly gifted musicians with wonderful voices. Mannish provides the accompaniment but should not be called backing, and points this out in a morphed version of the Ting Tings' That's not My Name. In an illustration of his vocal dexterity Mannish pulls off a verse from the twiddly bits of Wuthering heights.

The songs are all ones which we think we know, but somehow haven't ever noticed the alternate meanings contained within. Bonnie Tyler's Turn Around opens a sequence of horror genre pop excerpts featuring Cher as a zombie.

For me the performance was a highlight of my festival and I can see that this duo have a very bright future ahead of them.


Press release: New NZIAF Nightclub on the Wellington Waterfront
Arts Festival website: Frisky and Mannish
Scoop Full Coverage: Arts Festival 2010

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