Golem - 23 April 2015 Review
Visually stunning.I've always liked a little something different; a little side of weird and wacky with my theatre suits me just fine, and Golem was just that.
Theatre 1927's Golem has transferred from the Young Vic to the Trafalgar Studios and it isn't hard to see why; it is innovative, quirky and cutting edge and there is certainly nothing quite like it in the West End.
Whilst the concept of man vs machine is nothing new (HAL 9000 is one of the most terrifying film villains ever!) the way in which 1927 explore ones ability to be influenced by their devices is slightly newer territory.
In the show a Golem, a tall “robot” made of clay, is somewhat of an allegory for a person’s relationship with their iPhone. By characterising devices in the form of a Golem, the extent to which we allow technology to inform our decisions becomes somewhat creepy. Why is it that we don’t bat an eyelid when google somehow manages to know our location, what we like to eat and where we like to shop? Why is no-one totally weirded out by Siri! What if Siri was a 6ft naked robot made of clay, then would we take issue?! Suffice to say, there were definitely some pointed questions being raised throughout the show that certainly left me with something to think about.
Paul Barritt’s clever designs perfectly reflected the dialectic of the piece; technology and visuals were used to render ones relationship to their environment as almost game-like, something to be played with. Read into it what you will, one thing is for sure, you will dazzled and entertained whilst looking at the piece.
Intentional or otherwise, I felt a certain amount of applied verfremdungseffekt in the show; the piece was so strange that at times I felt alienated and distanced from the action. Whilst this did allow me to make a few intelligent deductions, it was a touch jarring and didn’t quite allow me to be as fully absorbed within the piece as I may have liked.
Whilst Golem is visually stunning, it is possible that 1927 worked so hard on the avant garde aesthetic that theatrical flow suffered slightly. Similarly, as the show was quick to portray new images, I felt that this hindered Golem from reaching a tangible level of terrifying.
Is Golem the most gripping piece of theatre? Not really. Is it one of the most beautiful and creatively presented? Yes. With its quirky designs, live music and superb stylised performances, this production is certainly one to watch.
23 April 2015, Trafalgar Studio One