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A CurtainUp London Review
We meet Annie and the Underdogs, a group organized by Robert's sister. Like a theatrical strip cartoon we explore the bizarre town Robert lives in and go to his workplace where people with pencils work on the Binary Back Up system. As Robert walks or runs on the spot, the backdrop moves and his walking action is hypnotic and riveting as he passes shops and businesses.
Robert ventures into Phil Sylocate (Will Close)'s shop which manufactures Golems. These Golems are clay monsters like giant gingerbread men with a large dangling member. They are slave robots who do not speak but will obey their owner and master. Robert takes his home and to his work place where he discovers that the golem can complete his work in a fraction of the time. The golems are animated projections.
The Golem concept is upgraded and the newer version impinges on Robert's life as the Golem starts to control him rather than vice versa. The parallel is the invasion into our lives of technology; the things we no longer have to think about but rely on technology to do for us. Earlier versions of the Golems litter the streets like discarded I phones. The Golem will give Robert a makeover and find two glamorous, overly long legged girlfriends to replace dear Joy (Rose Robinson). There is a wonderful scene when we first meet Joy, when she endearingly lists off all those cliches from a thrusting curriculum vitae, but in the negative, "I don't cope well with stress, I can't multi-task, I'm not highly motivated."
For the first fifteen minutes you will be blown away, as I was, by the originality of Golem, the fantastic and mesmerizing design, the amazing costumes, the otherworldliness of it all, the originality of theatre you haven't seen before. But as the piece progressed I felt what I was experiencing was all style and no substance as the story line started to slow and the experience pale.
Ironically this show about the evils of technology is itself dependent on the very finest technical co-ordination for the live actors to interact with the projected backdrop and golems.
However Golem did make me think about where theatre meets cinema, animation and live music. As these genres merge onstage, there is a feeling of sensory overload which leaves too little room for the thought processes to interpret the experience.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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