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People to watch this month: Frisky and Mannish, cabaret duo

People to watch this month: Frisky and Mannish, cabaret duo

“You can always guarantee three things with Frisky and Mannish,” says Matthew Floyd Jones on the phone from Hertfordshire in the UK. “I’ll be wearing tight trousers [as Mannish], Laura [Frisky] will be wearing a low-cut top, and we’ll both have a lot of glitter on.”

You can also expect riotous pop-song mash-ups inspired by hot societal issues, uncanny celebrity impersonations, and audience interaction. But to accurately describe the British cabaret act, who have been performing to critical acclaim since 2008, can be hard work, says Jones.

“Labels are constantly being blown out of the water at the moment — like gender and sexuality, which we deal with in the show. We’ve been called theatre, comedy, queer art.” He says the fluidity of the word “cabaret” appeals: “It’s an amazing fun and experimental place to be.”

Cabariot, the show the duo is bringing to the Auckland Live International Cabaret Season, fits that description perfectly, as its content is frequently updated to address current affairs. A recent London performance, for example, was scheduled for two days after the EU referendum vote, which led to “horrifying stress” as the pair devised a relevant routine that lived up to their exacting standards. “We’re quite perfectionist about it,” Jones says.

They eventually struck gold, and are considering adapting the segment for Auckland, particularly in light of recent Brexit mass-emigration rumours. The self-professed “creatures of the stage” have spent eight years nailing impressions of other stars. Who would they like to see impersonate them? Eddie Izzard and Chicago-era Catherine Zeta-Jones. Zeta-Jones because she’s “busty and ferocious”, Izzard because he’s the king of genre-busting, and Jones is convinced he’d love the costumes. Bring on the glitter.

Cabariot: Frisky and Mannish, September 29 and October 2, Auckland Town Hall.
Metro is a sponsor of the Auckland Live International Cabaret Season, September 28 to October 2, www.aucklandlive.co.nz

Theatre