A double helping of musical comedy mayhem is heading to East Lancashire in the form of Frisky and Mannish. JOHN ANSON spoke to one half of the duo about their unique style which blends pop, cabaret and comedy into one surreal show.
FRISKY and Mannish are a reviewer’s nightmare. They are unique performers in the true sense of the much over-used word.
But to try and get the feel of the show over to someone who has never seen them before is almost impossible. “Actually what we do is a really simple idea,” said Laura Corcoran aka Frisky, “it’s just complicated to make it work.”
And make it work they do. Laura and Mannish, Matthew Jones, take classic pop songs and turn them into surreal works of comedy. So you might find Kate Bush and Kate Nash duetting on Wuthering Heights or the Bee Gees proving they have a lot in common with Rhianna.
“It’s all about playing about with pop songs,” said Laura.
The duo’s new show Extra-Curricular Activities is their fourth in four years and comes to Burnley Mechanics next Sunday and then King George’s Hall, Blackburn next month.
For a musical duo to produce a new hour-long show each year is huge task to produce that amount of good material,” said Laura, “so this year’s show is a bit of a compromise in a way.
“It’s a combination of songs from our previous three shows in which we set out to educate our audiences in a musical sense. There will be some new material in it too but we have so many songs and routines which people have asked to see again.”
Laura and Matthew met while at university.
“I don’t think either of us ever thought ‘we are going to be musical comedians’, it just developed,” said Laura.
“We just get together and come up with ideas and see what works. In the early days we’d try and do some sketches but looking back that wasn’t a great idea.”
Both Frisky and Manish – the name is taken from characters from Byron’s Don Juan – are excellent musicians and a show is more like a gig than any normal comedy show.
“I grew up loving Jack Black’s Tenacious D and things like the League of Gentlemen when they went to tour using a lot of music in the show.
“I suppose it’s more of a cabaret influence than anything else.”
With Extra Curricular Activity touring until Christmas, what does 2013 have in store for the duo?
“We had an idea to do something a bit darker based around the 27 club,” said Laura, “all the musicians who died at 27 like Hendrix and Janis Joplin. That’s our age now and it’s we started to put something together which was both fun and an intellectual challenge so I think we might try and develop that further.”
Until then, it’s on with musical mash-ups. It can surely only be a matter of time before the duo are taking over the world.
Frisky and Mannish play Burnley Mechanics, Sunday, October 21, details from 01282 664400 and King George’s Hall, Blackburn, on Friday, November, 9 , details from 0844 847 1664.