Latest Review – Golem (HOME)

A 1927, Salzburg Festival, Theatre de la Ville Paris & Young Vic co-production


HOME, Manchester

Until Saturday 17 October, 2015

Take a large spoonful of German silent cinema, a good dose of Franz Kafka, a dash of Terry Gilliam and a pinch of Gustav Meyrink’s 1914 novel of the same name and you have 1927’s Golem, writer and director Suzanne Andrade’s brilliant and incredibly inventive love letter to the German expressionist movement of the 1920s, now arriving at HOME following a sell-out West End season earlier this year and a recent run at the Theatre de la Ville, Paris.

Famously popularised in Meyrink’s novel – later adapted for the screen three times by pioneering expressionist director Paul Wegener – golem’s are animated anthropomorphic beings formed from inanimate matter (usually stone and clay) stemming from medieval Jewish Folklore. Whilst 1927’s production may draw on the myth, this is by no means an adaptation or variation on the legend. Perfectly fusing dynamic live performance with film projection, animation and meticulous choreography, the play offers a bold examination of consumerism, materialism and our enslavement to technology, wrapped up in an undeniably impressive blanket of innovative direction and bravura visuals courtesy of Paul Barritt.

Located in a fictional dystopia scarily familiar to our own world, the play centres on geeky young outcast Robert Robertson, whose banal job backing up the backup in the basement of binary data entry centre (straight of out Gilliam’s Brazil) leads him to purchase one of only three handmade golems from his equally outcast school friend. Though initially reluctant, said friend is soon approached with an offer of riches beyond his wildest dreams by an enigmatic corporation, soon sending the golem into mass production, becoming the must-have item for millions of consumers. Initially an obedient creature happy to fulfil its masters every command, the siri-esque Golem soon develops into a manipulative device, transforming its owner into an opinionated, power hungry shadow of his former self, and of course, it’s not long before the significantly upgraded Golem 2 makes its inevitable appearance.

It would be unfair to single out individual performances as in all honesty the five strong ensemble comprising Will Close, Charlotte Dubery, Lillian Henley, Rose Robinson and Shamira Turner are pretty faultless.

Visuals aside, the play does lack focus on occasion, and could possibly do with shaving at least 10 minutes of ‘padding’ off the overall 90-minute running time, however this is a production that needs to be seen, and it’s refreshing and joyous reminder of just what can be achieved in the theatre.

Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes (no interval).

Final Performance at HOME, Manchester: Saturday 17 October, 2015.

For more information and to book tickets, please Click Here.

[Image: Golem, 2014, Salzburger Festspiele, © 1927]

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