Writer and Director: Suzanne Andrade
Film, Animation and Design: Paul Barritt
Music: Lillian Henley
Reviewer: Daryl Holden
The world that 1927’s Golem portrays is one of social decline. A world where individualism leads down the path to nonexistence and consumerism inevitably ends up at the top of the food chain. By all means, it’s a story that the theatre seems to be constantly throwing at us nowadays, to the point where all we want to do as an audience is switch off, and that’s what makes Golem stand out among the masses.
Golem doesn’t claw at your feet and apologetically beg for your attention, it slaps you on the face and demands it, and deservedly so. This piece holds your interest throughout and doesn’t let you go until the final bow, and even then, you’re still not sure if you want to leave. It’s hard to find that in theatre.
The technical side of this show is by far its most impressive aspect. 1927 have successfully managed to do what so many of their peers have failed to on stage, and that is to successfully blend modern day technology and theatre into one singular entity. In turn creating something reminiscent of a cinema-like experience. And while this is a feat in itself, 1927 take it a step further by doing it on a huge scale and with such precision, they make it seem like child’s play. The backdrops for every scene are a mix of drawings, animation, and Claymation, which give the piece an aesthetic similar to that of an old-timey morning cartoon. The number of rehearsals that have gone into this show to match the actors movements to their interaction onscreen is outstanding and every little movement or look between the animation and the actors on stage has been meticulously planned and rehearsed, providing a slick and pleasurable viewing experience, to say nothing of the acting itself which is top notch.
In terms of the story, 1927 have used the old Jewish tale of The Golem as the basis for this work, yet have chosen to provide their own unique spin. Rather than The Golem carrying out the commands of his master until he gains sentience and sets off on a rampage through town, this time he tears society apart in a far more literal sense. The Golem has become the next “big thing”, a corporate product designed to fulfill the daily needs of its owner while also providing a platform for said shady corporations to spy on their consumers. This spying soon turns to influencing and these influences inevitably lead to a collapse of the freedom of the individual and the rise of mass consumerism, where the wants and needs of the few are ignored and quashed by the demands of those who have the money.
Sound familiar? It should.
There isn’t much by way of subtlety in this piece, with the similarities between the Golem and products such as the iPhone being sometimes painfully obvious. This is where 1927 let themselves down. The idea that while technology itself isn’t inherently evil, instead, the people behind said technology always will be can sometimes feel reminiscent of a young child screaming at everyone that their opinion is the only one that’s correct. The constant bombardment of this mindset can prove to make a potential audience member switch off and become distanced from the world the company has so intricately created rather than draw them in closer which would be a crying shame, to say the least.
The message that Golem sends its audience isn’t anything new, but then again, it never claimed to be. Instead, 1927 use their own unique and incredibly impressive brand of storytelling to deliver a show that puts it on a pedestal among its peers, making it a must-see.
Runs until 21 October 2017 | Image: Contributed