Munya Chawawa & Morgana Robinson star in animated satire Sweet Dreams

ExclusiveThursday 30th May 2024, 6:18pm by Jay Richardson

Sweet Dreams

Munya Chawawa, Morgana Robinson and US musical comic Reggie Watts are to star in an interactive, satirical artwork coming to Manchester in July.

Sweet Dreams, which premieres at the Aviva Studios on 17th July and runs until 1st September, is described as "a surreal, immersive journey through appetite, human desire and the evolving landscape of food".

Illustrated by French artist McBess (Matthieu Bessudo) and created in collaboration with award-winning writer and former chef Simon Wroe, the interactive artwork asks questions about how and what we consume.

Chicky Ricky from Sweet Dreams

Focused on a fast food empire in decline, mascot Chicky Ricky, voiced by Chawawa, grapples to understand the ever-shifting desires of the masses, alongside an array of other characters including The Boss with a Rolodex head (Watts) and Penny Peckish (Robinson), a shelved mascot made of plastic straws.

Developed and funded by the BFI with National Lottery funding, unfolding over a series of rooms in the Warehouse space at Aviva Studios, the exhibition promises to transport audiences "into a mesmerising blend of motion graphics, gaming, illustration and cinema, moving between the tantalising and the grotesque, the nightmarish and the hilarious".

Chawawa said: "I've always felt my career wouldn't be complete without voicing a psychologically-twisted animated chicken, so this truly was a dream come true. The concept and characters are so brilliantly poignant and satirically sharp, it's been a total delight and will be for anyone who goes to see it. Let's just say you'll think twice before your next burger ..."

Sweet Dreams is a collaboration between Factory International, which runs the Manchester International Festival, and is based in Aviva Studios, and the experiential art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast.

"Sweet Dreams holds a cartoon mirror on our world" said Robin McNicholas, director of the animation and of MLF. "We're serving up a story where audiences can deepen their connection to the food they eat. We aim to spark further conversations about our place in the food chain, via chirpy cartoon faces that often are the gatekeepers to the things we consume."

You can watch a short film about the making of Sweet Dreams here:

Meanwhile, Chawawa is making a follow-up to his Bafta-nominated How To Survive A Dictator documentary for Channel 4, set in North Korea.

How To Survive A Dictator. Munya Chawawa

The comic has travelled to Switzerland, Seoul and suburban West London for How to Survive a Dictator: North Korea, which will air in the autumn but previews at the Sheffield Documentary Festival next month, tracking down a school friend of Kim Jong Un's and met the people who have seen the effects of the Kim regime first hand.

"It's been tricky to not feel a sense of 'apocalypse anxiety' recently and a lot of that stems from North Korea and Kim Jong Un, so doing this doc has not only been fascinating, but also given me a strange sense of closure" Chawawa told US entertainment website Deadline.

Made by Rumpus Media (Late Night Lycett, Rhod Gilbert's Growing Pains), the North Korean film follows Chawawa's first How to Survive a Dictator documentary, which explored Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, earning a Bafta nomination in the specialist factual category. Tomasz Frymorgen (Zen Motoring) is the producer-director.

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