by Suzanne Andrade created by 1927.
Trafalgar Studios (Studio 1) 14 Whitehall SW1A 2DY To 22 May 2015.
Mon-Sat 8pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Captioned 5 May.
Runs: 1hr 30min No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 871 7632.
Review: Carole Woddis 23 April.
Exhilarating and pointed theatricality.
An artistic phenomenon doesn’t appear over-night without someone putting their weight behind it. Such must have happened with 1927 whose breakthrough occurred in Edinburgh barely eight years ago and who have since covered the globe, visiting five continents, 35 countries and 118 venues.
Now Young Vic Associates, their development of Golem clearly owes its existence to a number of creative godparents (see below) and recently 1927 (I wonder where the name comes from?) again won huge acclaim for their previous show, The Animals & Children Took to the Streets.
The thing that strikes a newcomer to their work is their sheer inventiveness – a combination of animation, cartoon, live performance and music that curiously seems inspired not just by the Monty Python school of surrealist comedy but even earlier, to the silent movie inventors of the early part of the 20th century, such as French film maker Georges Méliès’s The Impossible Voyage (1904), which also mixed animation with theatrical performance.
Drawing on a rich seam in Jewish legend, 1927’s Golem, loosely based on the novel by Austrian Gustav Meyrink, is, however, not only a superbly executed experiment in cross-forms but presents an uncompromising message about consumerism and the steady take-over of our minds by something purporting to be a servant of human-kind but which ends-up controlling it, deadening resistance, reducing culture to corporate uniformity.
Parallels with Apple, Samsung and contemporary gizmos and gadgets designed to take the sting out of work and make our lives easier spring to mind, as well as the misleading appeal to `individual choice’ – a Trojan horse if ever there was one.
At 90 minutes, 1927’s Golem occasionally shows signs of stretch-marks – too much teasing out the story of `ordinary’ Robert – if pointedly counterbalanced by telling blasts from the punk band, `Annie and the Underdogs’. But once the benignly helpful Golem 1 gives way to version 2 – a miniature, colourful and cleverly designed variant of a stormtrooper – the piece and storm clouds gather momentum.
It’s hard to over-praise the synchronisation, musical, physical and design skills of 1927. You have to go and see them.
Performers: Charlotte Dubery, Will Close, Lillian Henley, Rose Robinson, Shamira Turner.
Voice of Golem: Ben Whitehead.
Additional recorded voice: Suzanne Andrade.
Director: Suzanne Andrade
Designer/Film/Animation: Paul Barritt.
Music: Lillian Henley.
Designer/Associate Director: Esme Appleton.
Sound: Laurence Owen.
Costume: Sarah Munro.
Dramaturg: Ben Francombe.
Animation Associate: Derek Andrade.
Drums & Percussion: Will Close.
Mi>Golem was originally developed as a 1927, Salzburg Festival, Théâtre de la Ville Paris & Young Vic co-production, with support from The Tolmen Centre, Cornwall, Harrogate Theatre, Stratford Circus & The Old Market and funding from Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts.
World premiere of Golem Salzburg Festival 22 August 2014; UK Premiere Young Vic Theatre 9 December 2014.
First performance at Trafalgar Studios London 14 April 2015.