It can often seem like online dating is more of a case of swiping left and right than actually connecting and meeting. In an increasingly isolated time, dating apps have been the go to place for singletons to initiate conversation and meaningful relationships. Capturing this in her multimedia piece Manimals, Michelle Hudson‘s one woman show explores the concept of finding love within a digitised, game-like prism.
In the pursuit of finding a life partner online, we’re reminded of how our overall experiences are shaped, secret scores and data determining the amount of points we get, our actions either losing us or rewarding us with more points. A fascinating way of looking at dating apps, Hudson starts to explore the concept of dating and what it means within the early 21st century. We’re encouraged to engage with a specially made app, tapping into the game-like nature of dating; the show’s symbolic use of animals adding humour, playing into the show’s digital conversation. Although interactive this allows for all to step back and examine our new dating norms.
Hudson guides the interactive experience via Zoom, a workshop consisting of comical skits, activities and encounters providing the show its quirky edge. We’re encouraged to briefly talk to one another, and take part in Hudson’s game-like established world. The show proves a lighthearted much needed anecdote currently, especially pre-Valentine’s Day as it’s a great opportunity to meet fellow singletons and have a laugh. Although structured, there’s an easy going feel about the experience.
Manimals is ambitious, a show with promise and of our times, it starts to delve into the nuanced topic of love and dating and what that journey entails, there are many ideas that can be brought together more so and fine tuned, however Hudson contemplates love’s unpredictability and complexity within our new normal.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Manimals was shown in the UK from Wednesday 10th until Sunday 14th February 2021 via Zoom.
Manimals will show in the Canada from Friday 5th until Sunday 14th March 2021 via Zoom. Tickets can be purchased via the Talk is Free Theatre website here…