HOME, Manchester – until 17 October 2015
I was thrilled to attend HOME in Manchester last night to watch the weird and wonderful production, GOLEM by theatre company 1927 Productions. Following rave reviews at the Young Vic and then the West End, I was eager to find out what the Northern audience would make of this unique piece of theatre which fuses animation, live performance, music and claymation.
Golem is like nothing I have ever seen before. It is a potent 90 minute brew of witty animation and quirky physicality – the sharp interaction between the performers and Paul Barritt’s eye popping animation is skilful and is carried along smoothly by Lillian Henley’s brilliant silent movie-esque score.
Greeted by the voiceover ‘We live in a world where people want for nothing, we are safe and secure – we are progressive’ we are introduced to the family, librarian Annie (Charlotte Dubery), her nerdy brother Robert (Shamira Turner) and their Granny (Rose Robinson).They are a creepy looking crew who look as though they have been peeled from the pages of a Roald Dahl book. Annie fronts a punk band called Annie and the Underdogs, whose members consist of her gawky brother Robert and their equally awkward looking peers.
Writer and director Suzanne Andrade turns the jewish myth of bumbling clay monster Golem into a modern day commentary on consumer capitalism when Robert visits the sleazy inventor Phil Sylocate (Will Close) to purchase a Golem of his very own.
Golem, with the silky voice of Ben Whitehead from Wallace and Gromit, reminds me of Tony Hart’s Morph except considerably more well endowed. At first the heavy setted clay creature seems kind and helpful when he speeds through Robert’s work ‘backing up the back-up’ at the technology company. Though, it soon becomes apparent that Golem is a strike at technology and and how quickly it can take over. With Robert now a more fashionable version of himself and with a girlfriend in tow – it’s only a matter of time before Golem version 2 is released ‘ Move with the times or you’ll be left behind’ it repeats – speedier, compact and even more controlling.
Throughout the duration, the clever animated backdrop of independent shops loses itself to chain stores; the silly dives that Robert and his friends used to skulk around in become strip clubs – all reflective of a city losing its flavour to advertising and big business.
Golem manages to integrate every single artistic element immaculately – from the writing to the lighting scheme. The animation becomes a character of its very own – with the actors popping their heads through windows and doors in the screen as the Looney Tune style spotlight finds them. The energetic cast of five play many different characters between them with Lillian Henley and Will Close also nipping about to play the live soundtrack on the keyboard and drums either side of the stage.
Golem is a true theatrical spectacle, inventive and perfectly synchronised – but don’t just take my word for it, go see for yourselves…
Golem is running at HOME until 17 October 2015.