Writer and Director: Suzanne Andrade
Music: Lillian Henley
Reviewer: Katherine Kirwin
London-based company 1927 fuse different modes of performance into a cohesive production; live music, animation, film, and physical performance. It is difficult to capture in words how visually exciting Golem is and how it ensnares you from the outset.
The weird and dazzling world created in Golem has the feel of a comic book brought to life, a flickering yellowing silent movie blended with anime. The synchronicity between live performers and the animation is so slick it is easy to forget they are not occupying the same dimension. It seems knowingly ironic that 1927 have used technology in so many different guises in order to create a witty, entertaining fable about technology.
Golem is a re-imagining of a Jewish fable about a clay man who, under a special incantation, can be brought to life to become an obeying servant. He enters the life of Robert (Shamira Turner), a binary back-up operator, his sister Annie (Charlotte Dubery) and anti-technology Gran (Rose Robinson). Initially Golem appears as a loveable hunk of animated clay with an excessively pendulous ‘member’, which does not go without mention from the other characters. However, Golem begins to upgrade, first developing voice and spouting adverts in order to suit Robert’s needs, then Golem v.2 is released in all his speedy, ergonomic, all-seeing functionality. The time-saving benefits of eliminating personal opinion or choice are advocated by Golem until this household of individuals have become carbon copies of everyone else.
The performances are superb by each of this cast of five. Each actor plays numerous parts or accompanies the action with music as in a silent film. Their faces twisted into expressive faces you have previously only seen in Quentin Blake drawings combining with 1920s clipped accents to deliver the joyously deadpan script.
The ubiquity of Golem – at one points leading to animated images echoing Anthony Gormley’s The Field – evidently parallels the ubiquity of Apple technology in our world. ‘Do you want to be a Nobody or Everybody?’ is the challenge to your individuality given by the faceless puppet-masters of this technology to Annie, Robert’s protesting sister. The modern anxiety we have of being so reliant on technology that we don’t understand how it works or who updates it, has been captured and reflected perfectly in this dystopian 2D/3D world.
The humour of the telling hammers home the anti-consumerist message with a feather.
Runs until 17 October | Image: Contributed