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Interview: Frisky & Mannish talk BAFTA's, corsetry & Noel Coward

Welcome to the fresh exciting world of 'twisted pop cabaret'! Ladies and Gentleman, give a warm hand for Frisky & Mannish! Many of you will know exactly who they are - but for those of you wide eyed folk, jazz hands at the ready and jaw to the floor with anticipation you're in for a showbiz treat. Actually, forget the jazz hands unless delivered with deliciously bitchy, camp irony.

Felicity Fitz-Frisky and Hansel Amadeus Mannish are the creations of Laura Corcoran and Matthew Jones who since 2008 have stormed the cabaret and musical comedy scenes to great critical acclaim. Visually, they're a gloriously giddy combo of Weimar Republic chic and New Romantic flare. Musically, they're on fire with their violent 'mash-ups' from the world of popular music, totally subverting pop into delicious spoof renditions. Think of Noel Coward singing Lilly Allen's 'London Town' paired with Lilly singing Noel's 'I've been to a Marvellous Party' - and you'll soon begin to relish the talent this duo are fizzing with. It doesn't end there. Look up Laura and Matthew at United Agents and you'll see between them they're highly skilled in Rock Singing, Ballet, Aerobics, tap and speak Ancient Greek! Is non-X-Factor showbiz really so demanding? Thank gawd - Britain does have talent after all. Run Riot caught up with Frisky (Laura) and Mannish (Matthew) to find out a little more - from all four of them.

Their latest show 'Frisky & Mannish Christmas Mess...Age', produced by Beyond The Cabaret, comes to the Lyric Theatre (Shaftesbury Avenue) on Monday, 20th December - for one night only!

RR: It's been a whirlwind two years for you! You formed in 2008 with a 10-minute fundraiser on the Battersea Barge in Vauxhall, followed by some swift shows at RADA, the Canal Cafe Theatre, then that summer playing guest to a few shows at the Edinburgh fest. Since that initial flurry you've returned to Edinburgh consecutively, won awards, performed all over the UK and gone international, performing in Berlin, New York, New Zealand and Australia. Geez! Was this the result of some cunning showbiz master plan? Can we re-wind to 2003, you were both 18 and about to start your degree at Oxford. What were your eyes set on back then?
Laura & Matthew:
'Showbiz master plans' are like poodles - sweet but pointless. It truly is all about luck, being in the right place at the right time with the right people. When we started at university, we definitely had ambitions beyond - Laura was fully intending to be ball-changing and belting in many a West End show, and Matthew was of course going to be a one-man acting dancing piano-playing songwriting entertainment machine - and in our youthful naivety, we were sure that these dreams would all be fully realised, probably before the age of 25. Then we left university, and the wilderness years began. Apparently, the world hadn't got the memo that we were coming, and didn't care. So we both individually fell into a momentary slump, until, phoenix-like from the ashes of our former dreams, Frisky and Mannish appeared, both unexpected and unexplainable.

RR: You're two highly talented people with a striking dynamic - it must make work so much fun, or total hell. Can you tell us about your working relationship and the creative process?
Frisky & Mannish:
Our creative relationship is dependent on 3 vital things, all of which need to be in place for us to work effectively. 1) Frisky must have eaten. Preferably omega-rich steamed fish to stimulate the braincells, but if she's cranky she's allowed the kebab. 2) Mannish must have regular toilet breaks. He's leaky, and too proud for Tenalady. 3) We must have access to Spotify, Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. It's research.

RR: At this years 'Christmas Mess...Age' you have a spectacular line-up of comedy, mime, circus and burlesque in the form of Perrier nominee Miles Jupp, brilliant physical theatre newcomer The Boy With Tape On His Face, aerialist and acrobat Abi Collins, and The Folly Mixtures. For the novice, can you tell us about the show? And for the fan, can we expect any of your classic pop combo's?
Laura & Matthew:
New recruits, expect festively-themed pop deconstructivist silly. We have a very important theory to divest, and it's a matter of national importance that you attend. In layman's terms, we sing proper good and is well funny.

Fans (PLURAL)... well, you'll get Noel and Lily again.
 
RR: You've stormed the stage with great success, if it was offered would you take your work to the radio, TV, or the movies? If so - which would you do, and what's the pitch? To the answer the question, you may use a crystal ball and 3 wishes from that well rubbed lamp, behind you!
Laura & Matthew:
It's all a question of timing, really. We would love to go on radio and TV with Frisky and Mannish, and widen their audience tenfold. Obviously, what works on stage doesn't necessarily translate to other media, so we've just got to be sure we've got the right idea before we plunge in, embarrass ourselves, and get chased out of town by indignant programming executives. Ideally, we want a chat show, a sitcom and a radio programme, please. But we won't do it until we're 110% sure (quote Simon Cowell) that we may get a BAFTA from it.

RR: Guilty pleasures... What would Frisky and Mannish like for Christmas? Don't hold back!
Frisky & Mannish:
Frisky would like a costumier with an infinite budget. No, in fact, a Haus. To produce whatever corsetry, hosiery and millinery upon which her whimsy should fix. Mannish would like... to go on Deal or No Deal. He loves that show.

For more info, check these out:
See the Show details on Run Riot
Frisky & Mannish (Official site)
Frisky & Mannish (Wiki)
Beyond the Cabaret (show producer)