17 July 2024 to 1 September 2024 Aviva Studios

Sweet Dreams - illustrations by McBess
Sweet Dreams - illustrations by McBess

A large scale, immersive and surreal exploration of desire, consumerism & appetite.

Factory International and award-winning art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) set out to redefine the boundaries of storytelling and cinema in the world premiere of Sweet Dreams, a surreal, immersive journey through appetite, human desire and the evolving landscape of food. Developed and funded by the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, and created in collaboration with award-winning writer and former chef Simon Wroe, this playful new interactive artwork wraps big questions about how and what we consume into a comic, immersive pop package.

Featuring a cast of satirical on-screen animated cartoon characters, voiced by leading international actors and comedians and illustrated by renowned French artist McBess (Matthieu Bessudo), the narrative centres around a fast-food empire in decline. Mascot Chicky Ricky, voiced by actor and comedian Munya Chawawa, grapples to understand the ever-shifting desires of the masses, alongside an array of other characters including The Boss with a Rolodex head voiced by comedian Reggie Watts and Penny Peckish voiced by comedian and impressionist Morgana Robinson, a shelved mascot made of plastic straws. 

Unfolding over a series of meticulously crafted rooms in the vast Warehouse space at Aviva Studios – which last summer showcased a major exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s inflatable artworks - audiences will be transported into a mesmerising blend of motion graphics, gaming, illustration and cinema, moving between the tantalising and the grotesque, the nightmarish and the hilarious. From decadent feasts to mass-produced mediocrity, each scene offers a glimpse into the complexities of modern consumption, challenging audiences to confront their own relationship with food and desire.

Robin McNicholas, Director of MLF said, "Sweet Dreams holds a cartoon mirror on our world. 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."

Whether you’re the ultimate foodie, a cinema buff or just someone who loves an unforgettable experience, Sweet Dreams is set to be the surreal snack you can’t get enough of this summer.

Entry to Sweet Dreams is timed – you have a 30-minute time slot to enter the experience starting from the time on your ticket

Tickets: Sweet Dreams | Aviva Studios | Manchester – Factory International