Frisky and Mannish- Extra Curricular Activities- Assembly Hall 7.30


You know you have made it on the Fringe when the queue to your show is mistaken for that of the Tattoo. This happened several times last night as I was waiting outside Assembly on the Mound and I, myself, wondered if I was in the right queue as it felt as if I was stuck inside some sort of George Street nightmare . Having first reviewed this act three years ago I have watched them rise from a sweatbox in the Cowgate with unidentified fluids dripping onto the audience’s heads to the Udderbelly last year and along the way they have adapted and updated their show accordingly.

This though was their biggest Fringe venue yet and also their largest audience and much as their success is deserved there was something inevitable about the mainstream audience they are now attracting somehow creeping its way into their act. It was still an amazingly good show but at times it felt like a greatest hits package and the feeling of seeing your favourite band which has previously been your private property becoming a huge stadium attraction with singalong value.

The 2012 Frisky and Mannish  still produce a show guaranteed to put a smile on your face however and I must admit the duo still have the capability to do this whilst extending the feelgood factor to a large audience. Thus we are treated to Kate Bush, Guns and Roses, and Minnie Ripperton’s impossible falsetto from ‘Loving You’ attempted by nearly everyone in the audience to hysterical effect. And yes even I couldn’t stop myself swinging it to the left, shimmying to the right and slamming to the front in an orgiastic ’Spice up your Life’. The grime section was identical to last year’s segment and felt a little tired and overplayed because of this but the ‘Made in Chelsea’ pastiche was spot on. Kelly Clarkson got a ribbing-though not dripping in barbecue sauce the way she would have preferred it- and the Lana Del Rey sequence was pretty amusing if slightly over extended.

All in all this is still a very good show even if this year’s version of Frisky and Mannish seems to be treading water  and giving their public very much what they want as opposed to anything new. Certainly Matthew Jones-the Mannish half of the duo- is seeing the two alternate sides to the Fringe as only a few hours before I had seen him in one of the aforementioned dripping sweatboxes with an audience barely making it into double figures and then within two hours finds himself selling out the prestigious Assembly Hall. Both of the duo have extreme talent at their fingertips so in many ways their success is justified whilst the show is a frothy camp confection with substance and Extra Curricular activities still manages to deliver but the question I kept asking myself-during the over familiar routines- was ‘Where do they go from here?’.



    • peter miller
    • August 18th, 2012

    It sounds good. I have never seen them and after reading your review it would seem, now is the right time. You can never grudge good performers their hard earned success but I’ve found, the ones that I enjoy who cross over to the big time , as you pointed out. Start to give the new audiance what they want. That’s when its time for me to say goodbye. So I will join the George St queue, hopefully catch a climpse of what got them there and enjoy. Its a shame you won’t be there, a good show and the sight of you, singing a long to a Spice Girls song would have been a double whammy. Xx

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