One of the many enviable qualities of Manipulate is its ability to hairpin turn through moments of both light and dark: to pull the rug from beneath our feet. FAUX Theatre have shot for this very idea in a playful yet touching piece of sensual storytelling on the euphoria – and despondency – of love.
Artistic Director and performer Francisca Morton lives in a world of white. Paper of all shapes, sizes and scrunches bobbles across the stage: the bathtub overflows, scrolls rain from the ceiling, notes are torn and trampled on. Each may contain a memory, a joke or a tender declaration, with the power to completely uplift or shatter us, and yet is so easily destroyed. Accompanied by sonic artist Barney Strachan, who creates all manner of sound effects with household objects, this is an honest and affectionate portrayal of one’s journey through romantic fantasy. It does, however, rely too heavily on its twee disposition, in the style of Caroline Horton’s Mess, and the performance doesn’t quite immerse us enough so that we fall in love with it. Morton herself is utterly adorable and puppy-eyed, frolicking with a pair of denim jeans that signify her male partner, but there’s never a greater sense that this tumbling relationship reveals a new depth to the fickle emotions we endure.