Review: Manipulate Festival #14: Part 3

Sarah Cosgrove‘s Today I Bake takes the tropes of the domestic goddess-serene, smiling, slave- like and submissive- grabs it by the scruff of the neck, and twists until the head pops off.

Cosgrove, dressed like a blankly sexy Stepford Wife in floaty white, attends to her pristine kitchen with automaton precision.

Guy Veale’s soundscapes point to the breakdown of the family home: a shipping forecast that turns to white noise; 70s hits reduced to static, a vacuum cleaner that almost howls to be set free.

It would seem the lady is all alone in the house, until a male figure (Dylan Read) wrapped in plastic, is made visible just to the side. Is he marinading?!

A bizarre routine plays out between the two, that of ambiguous role play, and a Pas de Deux that’s not so much a clinch as a grip. It’s all underpinned by an almost Lynchian pace that feels unrelentingly suffocating. After all, as Bryan Ferry once sang in his Roxy Music days, In Every Dream Home A Heartache.

There’s nothing so disturbing in Crunch, the beautiful new short film from performer Sita Pieraccini , here collaborating with David Pollock.

A kind of companion piece to her lovely theatre show Bird, Pieraccini portrays a wide-eyed feral girl, delighting in nature, the sounds (provided by sound artist Pollock) and the onomatopoeic quality of words like ‘flap flap’,’crinkle’ ‘whispering’ and ‘tweet tweet’.

With the sweetness of a silent movie actor in the performance and quirky, choppy editing, the piece is gentle enough for little ones, and surreal and witty enough for adults. A small, inventive gem which feels like it’s sprinkled with the magic and innocent wonder of childhood exploration.


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