On a balmy summer’s evening in Waterloo, by the riverside, is a riot of cabaret proportions. I passed through a giant archway heralding the beginning of the Udderbelly festival, flanked by an idyllic setting of seating blended perfectly into greenery, flanked by a variety of stores selling preposterously up-market victuals. It’s like a pub garden in Narnia.
Suddenly the stage becomes more smoky than a club in the 90’s, and the performers appear. Mannish is playing keyboard and wearing what can only be described as spandex and sparkly genius. He is joined in short order by Frisky, who is precisely what Paloma Faith would be if she possessed any intellect.
The warm-up music on the speakers suddenly transitions effortlessly into the night’s performance, beginning with a variety of musical pastiches on current social issues through a series of comedic musical mash-ups.
The first act brought on is Matt Ricardo, who begins by casually whipping the tablecloth out from under a fully laid table (predominantly on the grounds that to have this skill and not use it would be a criminal waste) and then continues to tell of an entirely brilliant misadventure with Britain’s Got Talent.
Frisky and Mannish continue with such excellent hits as “nobody loves you when you’re fat”, featuring the ingenius line “you’ll sweat so much you’ll make tiny dogs drown.” Frisky’s voice is powerful and haunting, but thrown in almost as an afterthought – both possess immense musical talent and incorporate this excellently with topical humour and fairly obscurist pop culture references. The show appears to end with the climactic appearance of Kitty Bang Bang, who begins by lighting a copy of a tabloid newspaper on fire to the tune of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name and ends with doing very intriguing things involving stripping and lighting parts of herself on fire.
Counter-intuitively after this natural ending point, the show continued for another 20 minutes, with some highly drawn out musical numbers about the LGBT community and the adding of countless more initials to incorporate all of the new generation, to whom there are more genders and sexualities than there are alternate realities in the Marvel universe. The joke is too accurate as an imitation; it becomes precisely as tedious as tumblr and lasts approximately 90% longer than it should. All in all, though, the show contains brilliant humour and effectively expresses the comedy through music and I recommend it, not just because it gives you an opportunity to watch a show inside a giant purple cow, like a modern-day Trojan horse.
Udderbelly continues until 17 July
Frisky and Mannish are performing again on 6th July at 9:15
For more information and tickets see:http://www.udderbelly.co.uk/whats-on/frisky-and-mannish-cabariot