How do you review a piece of theatre like Golem?  Well for a start it’s not like traditional theatre.  It’s more projected animation, with live music, and actors creating the scenes on stage within a filmic world.  Actors with superb physicality, amazing facial gestures and quirky voices.  Like mime but with words.  Like theatre, but full of vivid colours, movement and stop-motion animated characters.  A lot like film, with spotlights focusing to a point to end a scene.  You’re either going to love this or hate it.

The world that theatre company 1927 create is surreal, fantastic and dream like.  With more than a nod to Metropolis, itself released in 1927, this production warns of the dangers of over-reliance on technology.  We see ‘Golem’ the personal assistant upgraded and taking ordinary man Robert (Shamira Turner) from family and routine to a world where he is persuaded to get the best of everything, regardless of whether it makes his life better.  As with all great stories there is a love story at its heart.

This is a detailed, beautifully paced production.  The technical wizardry supports rather than overwhelms the central themes.  Animation and music create the world early on, and maintain a constant feel; the world of the play comes alive.  If you buy into the world, you don’t leave it.  Yet this is a surreal world that 1927 create.  The character ‘Golem’ is a stop-motion clay model, purposely rough around the edges to create that ‘just-invented’ feel.  Animations appear hand-drawn, with subtle humour and impressive typefaces.  Spoken word chimes with the music, slightly poetic.  The rhythm is broken only by a punk band that rehearses alone in a basement.

How do you define theatre like this?  It’s very much pushing the boundaries between the different forms by incorporating elements of film, music, cabaret, mime and animation.  At the same time the story is simple and the acting superb.  This is a production that takes the best of what is available to tell the story.  Technology is not used just for the sake of it, which is refreshing given the message of the piece.

I love that HOME is bringing a new style of theatre to Manchester.  It’s not for everyone, but innovative theatre rarely is.


Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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