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Golem

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1927’s previous show, The Animals and Children Took to the Street, was outstanding so Golem comes with a considerable weight of expectation. It turns out to be an often visually thrilling show, containing the same gloriously inventive mix of animation, performance and music as The Animals, but it does feel a somewhat blunter instrument overall.

Very loosely based on Gustav Meyrink’s Der Golem, Suzanne Andrade and company’s new piece takes the form of a satirical fable about technology and consumerism. Robert is a lonely sort, quietly frustrated by life, until he buys a man made of clay, a Golem, a silent servant designed to do his bidding. Soon, however, his Golem develops the power of speech and starts urging Robert to buy more, to improve himself, to upgrade.

Paul Barritt’s animations are still startlingly good, intricate, witty and rich with detail, drawing on numerous sources, everything from 8-bit platform games to Monty Python, while his Golem is an unnerving clay-mation figure, looking not unlike an unexpectedly well-endowed Morph. The cast of five interact with these animated backdrops with incredible precision, fleshing out this animated world in every sense. Esme Appleton plays the geeky Robert while Will Close and Lillian Henley also perform the latter’s score live.

The whole thing is beautifully done, the level of detail so very impressive, but it lacks the wicked glinting edge of Animals and Children and as satire it feels a bit mechanical. It is still one of the most visually distinctive and technically inventive things you’ll see on stage this year.

Verdict: The visually dazzling new production by 1927 is beautifully executed if not quite as dizzyingly brilliant as their previous show

Natasha Tripney

  • Young Vic, London
  • December 9-January 17, PN December 12
  • Author/director: Suzanne Andrade
  • Design: Paul Barritt animation, Laurence Own sound
  • Technical: Derek Andrade animation associate, Esme Appleton associate direction
  • Cast includes: Will Close, Lilian Henley, Esme Appleton, Shamira Turner, Rose Robinson, Ben Whitehead
  • Producers: 1927, Salzburg Festival, Theatre de la Ville Paris, Young Vic
  • Running time: 1hr 30mins
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The Stage
The Stage is a British weekly newspaper and website covering the entertainment industry, and particularly theatre. It was founded in 1880. It contains news, reviews, opinion, features, and recruitment advertising.
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