A Wire Apart, The Studio, Review

Submitted by Erin Roche on Thu, 6 Feb '20 7.03pm
Rating (out of 5)
A Wire Apart  - Manipulate Festival 2020
Show details
Paper Doll Militia
Sarah Bebe Holmes (Creator/ Choreographer), Bado Reti (Creator/ Original Music & Sound Design), Christine Urquhart (Set and Costume Design), George Tarbuck (Lighting Design), Malcolm Rogan (Technician), Joshua Baker (Technical Assistant), Carlos Hernan (Photography)
Sarah Bebe Holmes and Bado Reti
Running time

Sarah Bebe Holmes is an expert at balance. Merging aerial theatre with shrewd social commentary and metaphor with mechanism, she and fellow creator Bado Reti use this art form to explore new depths (and certainly, heights) of the human experience. This new piece by the two explores connection and the fast-increasing perils of ever-evolving technology. You may recognise this duo from their last aerial theatre piece, Egg, which was featured in MANIPULATE festival 2018 and then went on to a sell-out run at Summerhall during the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

Innumerable wires and cables twist and tangle the platforms on which stand, at one end, Sarah and, at the other end, Bado, with only one tight-wire to connect the two. Using naught but wires, movement, and aerial artistry, A Wire Apart journeys briefly through the information age and demonstrates how we’ve evolved alongside the evolution of the information age. With choreography and beautiful original sound design and music, also by Bado Reti, the creators exhibit how dial up days may have proven, in hindsight, to be ones of curiosity, discovery and innocence, but the “DING!” of an Instagram notification short-circuiting our attention spans now makes us little more than marionettes manipulated by our own devices.

The din of an iPhone notification can pull focus from what really matters - that is when we overheat and lose our balance. Escaping into the serotonin supplying selfie-gratification and gaming sphere, it seems the red notifications can sometimes rule our minds, losing bits of each other in the fray.

Rich visual metaphor through props, movement, lighting (George Tarbuck) and sound convey the two overtaken and drowning in algorithms and wifi connections, and then Sarah is hoisted into the air, twisting and flipping around myriad cables that support her aerial work, dangling and wrapping herself into different positions, emoting expressions of awe, fear and daze. Holmes’ physical skills make the work seem effortless, smooth. It is mesmerising; yet, commendably and impressively, the skills never outshine the story. They work together in balance.

Sharp, playful, surprising, A Wire Apart reminds us that detaching from digital noise and reclaiming our connection is paramount.


THU 6 FEB - 7.15PM - The Studio

£12 / £10

Age: 12+

Use of haze and flashing lights


No spoken dialogue.