From Fringe to East End, Mad Frankie aims to be a hit

James Cusick hears why a notorious criminal has returned to his old `manor'

There is method in Frankie Fraser's madness. "Razor" Fraser, the south London villain once nicknamed the "dentist" is posing over his girlfriend's mouth with a pair of pliers. "Bit closer Frank, great, nice one," shouts a photographer.

Mad Frank, now reformed and repackaged as Mild and Mannered Frank, is back in his old "manor" selling tickets to hear his life story.

The "dentist" of the notorious Richardson gang, which challenged the supremacy of the Kray Brothers in the Fifties and early Sixties, once used pliers - "gold-plated mind you" - to extract teeth from victims who owed money. Now 72 years old, and having spent 40 of those inside, Mad Frank is taking to the London stage after hit appearances at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Two October dates have been booked at the Brick Lane music hall in the East End. "Charlie Kray's reserved two tickets. All the old show biz people'll be there, Babs [Barbara Windsor], Danny, you know, la Rue," publicity man Patrick Newley said.

As Mad Frank performs with his pliers over Marilyn Wisbey, 30 years his junior and daughter of the Great Train robber, Tommy, Mr Newley shouts out and laughs: "Ere Frank, do you love her, do you share the same bed, what's Frank like in bed Marilyn?" Mr Newley admits there is no line he draws on matters of taste. "I used to work for the tabloids. A lot of it was made up. By the way, my own book's out next year, interested?"

Mad Frank: Memoirs of a Life of Crime was published last year, selling 6,000 in hardback, 30,000 in paperback. Where once New York hoods of the Twenties became lovable Harry the Horse or Bookie Bob at the hands of Damon Runyon, so too the real-life hardmen and thugs of London become "entertainers" at the hands of Friendly Frank. `Were you part of an attractive set?" Frank is asked. "Yes definitely," he recalls. "Stanley Baker, the actor, did come up to visit me at Brixton when I was nicked for murder."

Ten hours of taped memoirs have been condensed to a "show" of nearly two hours by Frank's agent, Michael Linden. Despite Frankie's 15 convictions and bouts of official insanity, Mr Linden nevertheless regards his client as a "lovely man, completely unlike your stereotypical idea of a gangster". Arguments settled by using broken bottles (glassing) or slashing buttocks with razors (striping) or even the use of guns, are passed over in favour of the showbiz side of crime. "He [Frank] enjoyed getting out and meeting people. Garland. Baker. He cracks jokes, you know," Mr Linden said.

"There's one comedian Frank knows. So Frank asks `What you up to then?' The comedian says `I'm doin' Hamlet.' Frank says `You have a rest I'll do him for you'."

With his smart suit and tie and a full head of dyed brown hair, Friendly Frank is looking forward to taking to the Brick Lane stage.

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand labelled 'left-wing commie scum' by Fox News
TV
News
Paul Nuttall, left, is seen as one of Ukip's key weapons in selling the party to the North of England
i100
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Thame i...

Graduate Project Manager

£25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Drama Teacher

£110 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a Drama tea...

Science teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a languages...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past