Real boy wanted for kinky fun. GSOH. Some strings attached. Must be able to get wood often. Swipe…
How would you swipe? What makes a man or a woman, anyway? What do you seek in a partner? Rosana Cade and Ivor MacAskill ask incredibly complex questions in their knotty and naughty The Making Of Pinocchio.
Playing with the trajectory of the classic children’s tale, the lovers in real life and theatrical double act interrogate MacAskill’s real life transition into masculinity; their own roles in the relationship, identity and the nature of performance itself.
Cade says there are no stories that best reflect their situation: once they were both lesbian, now MacAskill is trans and Cade, non-binary. So they decided to reinvent a well known tale, as they too look at their own lived experience.
There’s a lot of knockabout stuff: asking “What’s the whale’s motivation?”, an orgiastic scene with glory holes and phallic objects deep in the bowels of Tramway, the couple braying like donkeys, etc but underneath lies an intelligent, rich sense of how film, physical theatre and storytelling works.
Tim Spooner’s plush red design emulates a warm womb, reinforcing ideas of creation and rebirth, and Kirstin McMahon provides duality within her split-screen cinematography.
Several scenes make me cry: the duo talking about power balances in their relationship with great tenderness and candour, a cover between a pre and post- top surgery MacAskill of When You Wish Upon A Star, and the moving finale where the couple cuddle up inside a virtual whale, stating we’re all works in progress. Yas Clarke’s sound throbs like a heartbeat- the rhythm of strength and resilience that is a constant inside us all. Until, one day, it’s not.
Ultimately, it’s all quite a trip- at the end, I feel like I’ve been put through an emotional wood chipper, but in the best way possible. I tell no lies.