Disclaimer: this is a bit of a tease, as this show was only on for a limited run in London and has now closed! However, tour dates can be found here! (they are in Paris next week if anyone fancies the trip – I’ll come!)
For a theatre company founded by an animator, you would expect 1927’s animation to be pretty well sorted. Their acting, dramaturgy, storytelling, and other theatrical devices maybe less so. This however, is not at all the case with this spectacular all-rounder of a show.
Based on the myth of Golem – a clay man who comes to life to obey his master’s every command – we see Robert and his family’s life disintegrate as Golem begins to control them. Golem becomes a must have product on the market, and influence’s all it’s master’s choices through tactical manipulation and product placement. By the end of the tale, we see Golem: Version Three, being inserted straight into people’s brains. His original purpose – of helping with physical tasks being lost – and he becomes a tool used by the corporations to control the human’s every thought.
The story is an exploration of human kind, and our obsession with machines. The need and desire to have the latest technology, as we believe it will better our lives, and the dominance of corporations and the control we don’t realise they have.
We are guided through the story by the animation: the backdrop forever moving, we see the characters running through town whilst the actor run’s on the spot. Outfit’s and furniture change in a flash, and bugs run off pictures as if it’s all happening in our own living room.
The animation is impressive, without a doubt. It takes a lot of work to create any animation that’s 90 minutes long, especially anything decent. The story is amusing, and thought-provoking – if occasionally a little predictable, and repetitive. What make’s the show spectacular however is the acting, and the precision with which all of their movements are timed to the live music, AND the animation. Despite their slight ridiculousness, we relate to Robert, Anna, Grandma easily. We warm to them, as they are portrayed with such an endearing simplicity, and they are so wholly believable as people.
The music is catchy, and funny, and overall the show works. There are so many layers to the production, all individually brilliant, but when they come together they transform the theatre, and transport us into another land. A land where Golem rules the show, and the simplicity of eating breakfast, knitting, working, or rehearsing with a punk rock band in your basement all get lost to the corporations. Scarily relevant at a time where Google has begun controlling our taxi rides – our location’s to an extent. What is the next step? And where will it end?