How many Golem’s do you use every day? According to Paul Barritt, theatre company 1927’s Co-Founder and Animator, he is surrounded by them, and after seeing the company’s latest offering, Golem, playing at the Trafalgar Studios until May 22nd, I think we could all well agree…Except for my Nan – even if she had one, she wouldn’t know how to switch it on.
By now you’ve probably surmised, 1927’s new play is a parable, based around the effect of modern technology on our lives – the Golem (an enormous clay man with a life of his own) is a symbol of everything from the iPhone to the combi-printer, but it’s strength is in the journey it takes for us as an audience to recognise this.
From the outset, this play is absolutely bonkers. Robert Robertson loves automatons and working for a company that writes down binary code, for the inevitable tech-crash to come (remember Y2K?). His sister Annie’s focus lies primarily in running an anti-establishment punk band in her basement, for 15 years – of which he is a member (Key-tar) – the other two members are friends PJ and Penny, who also provide musical accompaniment throughout. The world in which they live has recognisable elements – the local caff, shoe shops and building sites – but is completely alien in its essence, its soul. Some of this has to do with Barritt’s jaw-dropping animations, which allow for an incredible amount of settings, all projected onto flats. The music and songs also lend a zany, fragmented feel to the proceedings, succeeding in some places better than others.
Golem, the 7 foot clay man, who becomes such an integral part of Robert’s life, doing everything from shopping, to working, to making friends for him, is the tool that gradually turns this piece from a Burton-esque (Tim, not Richard) hallucination, into a piece of social commentary on how much we let our so-called inanimate devices control and change us.
All of the performances here are strong, in everything from the singing and spoken word to the minutely choreographed movement – and Suzanne Andrade, co-founder of 1927 and writer/director of the piece, is an assured hand at the helm. That isn’t to say it doesn’t become a little too much at times – the piece is so strident in its style at points, that I forget what it is trying to say, or the story it is trying to tell. Golem is weird, terribly amazing and incredibly insane – and if that sentence confuses you, you should see the show. 4/5
Review written by Samuel Clay.
Golem is currently is currently showing at the Trafalgar Studios until Friday 22nd May. For more information on the production, visit here…