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Home, Manchester

It’s not often that you sit down in the theatre with no real expectations and witness something so unique, so unexpected, that you leave with your mind well and truly blown; but that’s exactly how I felt after watching Golem by the experimental theatre company 1927. This eye popping amalgam of live action, music and (occasionally jaw dropping) animation is the most innovative and exciting spectacle I’ve seen in years.

The myth of the Golem, is of course, one of the oldest tales in existence. A creature created out of clay to do mankind’s bidding, its most famous manifestation was in Paul Wegener’s silent movie of 1915, the imagery of which is sometimes evoked here. In this version of the story, Robert (Shamira Turner) leads a life of unremitting tedium, enacting the same sequence of events every day, working in a ‘binary backup centre’ to earn his wages and too shy to approach new employee, Joy (Rose Robinson, brilliantly conveying the antithesis of what that name suggests). But when a friend, Phil Sylocate (Will Close) launches his new business, offering Golems that will carry out the owners every whim, Robert is an eager customer. At first all goes well, but as time passes, the Golem becomes ever more assertive, until inevitably the question arises; just who is in charge here? And what happens when the original Golem is updated to the new, faster, smarter Go 2?

If the story seems familiar, it should be borne in mind that the execution is key here – the perfect meld of acting, animation and music create a surreal, dreamlike world and one can only marvel at the degree of precision that must have been required to bring this extraordinary production together. Lest you be worried that it all sounds a bit dour, don’t be fooled – there’s plenty of comedy skilfully woven into writer/director Suzanne Andrade’s witty script. Ultimately, the word that best describes Golem is ‘magical’. Though on reflection, ‘unmissable’ will do just as well.

The production is at Home, Manchester until the 17th of October.

5 stars

Philip Caveney

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