Frisky and Mannish at Northern Stage

I’ve been a long-time fan of Frisky and Mannish, so was excited when I heard their Poplab tour was coming to Newcastle. I admit I had some reservations – last time I saw them, they were still funny but I felt like their shtick had been to some extent outpaced by the weirdness of the music industry they satirise: the kind of jokes they were making about pop mash ups and odd cover versions were now the straight-faced staple of Saturday night TV and X-Factor auditions.

But a break from the limelight for a while – Frisky (Laura Corcoran) just had a baby – has seen them return refreshed and sharper than ever, and Poplab was an utter delight. Sharp, funny and showcasing Corcoran’s powerhouse voice and her and Mannish’s (Matthew Floyd Jones) chemistry and exquisite comic timing, it was full of great jokes, sly observations and catchy tunes (and particular props for adding a crowd-pleasing local reference with the skillfully deployed PJ and Duncan (Ant and Dec) song). Not everything worked as well as it might – the first half was much stronger, and a second-half routine about gender identity was tonally uneven and stretched out way too long – but overall, the show was a joy.

The tour is now over, but they also have a podcast if you are interested in checking them out. (Their website is here.)

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