Fringe Q&A: Frisky & Mannish’s PopLab

Ten years since they burst onto the scene with their wildly popular brand of musical infotainment, Frisky & Mannish are officially Pop PhDs, fully qualified to conduct scientific analyses of the molecular intersections between every pop song ever. Shameless Edinburgh Fringe sell-outs since 2009. International jet-setters from Shepherd’s Bush Empire to Sydney Opera House. Adelaide and Brighton prize winners. Featured on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Three. And they have a podcast, obvs.

This isn’t your first time at the Fringe…

We invented Fringe, actually. Well, that’s not quite true but we are apparently the “King and Queen” of it (according to Three Weeks in 2012)… This will be our sixth full-length Fringe show, and hopefully a rip-roaring success like the previous five!

Tell us a bit about the show you’re in this year?

In Frisky & Mannish’s PopLab we pretend to be dissecting and reassembling a load of pop songs from the 60s to the present day, experimenting, looking for new data, researching combinations, and trying to understand everything on a molecular level. In reality, all we’re doing is hanging from this paper-thin concept a bucketload of our ridiculous pop music spoofs – everything from Fleetwood Mac to Ed Sheeran to Ariana Grande to Cotton Eye Joe to Rick Astley to the Beatles. Not Coldplay. But most other things.

How much work has gone into getting it ready for Edinburgh?

Work was slightly impeded by the fact that Frisky gave birth to a baby girl in March and Mannish was working in the US for the entire first five months of this year. But once we were back together, we hunkered down and wrote furiously on a two-week retreat. It’s not been the easiest preparation period, we’re not gonna lie, but that’s why it’s so good to have ten years of experience with each other. We have a shorthand that is hard to achieve and invaluable. And our motto this year was, no matter what, the main aim is to have fun.

Were you nervous ahead of your opening night?

If you don’t have at least some form of tingly adrenaline coursing through your veins as you hover behind the curtain listening to the audience taking their seats, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. We’ll never not be revved before we go onstage. It’s nervous energy in a positive way though, as opposed to negative nervousness. Cos what really is the worst that can happen? People don’t like it? They don’t laugh? They complain? They ask for their money back? They storm the venue a la Gaston and the townspeople? Okay actually we’re making ourselves a bit nervous now.

There’s thousands of shows on – why should Fringe-goers fork out to see yours?

Why indeed? We couldn’t possibly toot our own horn, that would be unseemly. We’ll let other people do it for us. The Times called us a “global phenomenon.” Ruby Wax thinks we’re absolutely fantastic. We’ve played the Sydney Opera House and the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. We’re no strangers to BBC Radio 1. We have many leather-bound books and our apartment smells of rich mahogany.

Are there any other shows on this year you’d recommend?

None whatsoever. No, actually we heard the rest of the Fringe was cancelled and it’s just us going. Ugh, fine, you should probably see Abandoman, James Hancox, Marcel Lucont, Lucy McCormick, Myra DuBois and Camille O’Sullivan for starters…

What’s on your hit-list to see?

We don’t make hit lists really. We’re more of a fan of keeping our ears to the ground and picking up on buzz once the festival is up and running – best way to catch the surprises as opposed to the tried and tested that you know you’ll love.

What are you planning to do on your days off?

Recharge, massage, airing out our undercarriage, maybe a round of cribbage, might make a photo montage, go to the top of Arthur’s Seat on a pilgrimage, study the ticket sales percentage, have drinks in Espionage (is that still open?)

Sell your show in no more than ten words….

Frisky’s voice is spectacular. Mannish pounds dem keys. They funny.

Frisky & Mannish’s Pop Lab will be at the Palais Du Variete at Assembly George Square Gardens for the month of August at 7pm. For tickets go to

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