I should preface this review by mentioning that you can't see the School of Pop. Frisky and Mannish brought out last year's show for one night only at the giant inflatable cow, and that's it—the final ever production. Is it fair to review something that nobody will see again? Fuckit, I don't see why not...
The School of Pop is the precursor to this year's The College Years, and this particular performance was noted to be a remedial class for those who needed a basic grounding in the underpinning theory of this year's masterpiece. Which is fair enough.
What was a solid 5/5 last year lose half a point this time around for a lack of focus. Much of what I said about The College Years still applies—as musical comedians, Frisky and Mannish are odd in that both are excellent singers and Mannish doesn't butcher the piano. But School of Pop is obviously the earlier show, because it spreads like double-ought buckshot through the whole realm of pop music used for comedy. Bits like the Sorting Hat of Pop don't hit with the same punch, because they don't really fit with what makes F&M truly great: their multi-layered understanding of pop music.
Is that enough to deduct even half a point? I don't think so. If it were ongoing, perhaps, but as a swansong to the GCSE-level studies in pop music it stands strong. And it features Noel Coward singing Lily Allen (and vice versa). No less than 5/5 is appropriate