My Festival: Frisky & Mannish

Creatures of the stage Frisky & Mannish drag themselves out of their PopLab for a quick Q & A
Don't look for Frisky or Mannish at 9 in the morning. You have been warned. Picture:  Aemen SukkarDon't look for Frisky or Mannish at 9 in the morning. You have been warned. Picture:  Aemen Sukkar
Don't look for Frisky or Mannish at 9 in the morning. You have been warned. Picture: Aemen Sukkar

I only have time to see one show in Edinburgh. Why should I go to yours?

OK, firstly, if you think coming to Edinburgh to see ONE SHOW isn’t the worst idea ever, then you are beyond saving. That aside, you’re gonna want your one show to have a bit of everything: ­comedy, tragedy, drama, latex costumery, hair bouffantery, grins, gurns and gaggery. All wrapped up in a musical bundle that is both sharply parodic and surprisingly good. That show is Frisky & Mannish, sweety, and it has been for ten whole years.

Now I think of it, I’ve got time to see two. What else should I definitely go to?

Just come see us twice.

What are the best and worst things that have happened to you at the Edinburgh festival?

Best = getting scouted by the Sydney Opera House, ­maybe? Or meeting Roy Walker. One of those. Worst = getting swine flu in 2009. Actually, no, the first time we went to a convenience store after our show to buy some booze and were told that this country doesn’t sell it after 10pm. We both actually cried. I mean, we’d heard the Scots were barbaric, but…

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Please describe where you’re living this month.

It’s a wooden structure inlaid with the most beautiful ­mirrors that catch the spotlights and refract them around the circular space. Of course we’re talking about the Palais du Variete Spiegeltent in the Assembly Gardens, because we live on stage.

What’s your favourite place in the city and why?

Those Vennel steps coming down from Lauriston Place to the Grassmarket. We could never get tired of that view of the Castle and Palace as you descend. Coming back up it is a ‘mare but going down, wow.

Who do you most like spending time with at the festival?

PEOPLE WHO AREN’T DOING THE FESTIVAL. Parents, siblings, friends, random baristas or bus drivers… They do not give a rat’s ass if you got 3 stars from Chortle. They’re all about “Are you enjoying yourself?” “Is it fun?” “Are you proud that you’ve made a thing?” That is the energy you need more of.

Where can I find you at 9am, 9pm and 2am?

You cannot find us at 9am under any circumstances and whoever told you you could is no friend of ours. At 9pm, we will have just finished our show and will be no doubt scraping the glitter off our faces with an industrial sander. At 2am, we may be five whiskies in and challenging locals to a karaoke-off. (No Proclaimers, as that would be advantage Scotland.)

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

We are not glamorous show-off types in real life, honestly! We’re perfectly happy in jogging bottoms and cardigans, we don’t enjoy being filmed or photographed (that’s why we’re stage creatures through and through), and we can’t think of anything worse than having loads of attention – until we get onstage and then suddenly we’re glazed Christmas hams of the HIGHEST order. It’s a mystery.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

We rise from our sumptuous fourposters and glide down to the east wing for a light breakfast of pomegranate seeds and espresso. What else?

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

Depends what mood we’re in. Ideally we’d be steaming, drinking water and putting on night cream, but if it’s been a stressful day we’re more likely to be eating cheese and YouTubing Jennifer Holliday at the Tony Awards.

Frisky & Mannish's PopLab at the Assembly George Square Gardens, 7pm until 25 August

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