The culture: Golem, Young Vic
The cheap seats: £10 Under 25 stalls seats. Central. Perfect (though maybe a bit close to the animation at points).
Golem is totally and utterly original. It might be early to call it but I think this show might make my 2015 Top Ten and we’re still less than a fortnight into the year.
With an aesthetic of nuclear warning sign yellow, 70s cookbook nostalgia and skew whiff pen drawings, a loud soundtrack of live drums, and imaginative animation, the show dazzles its audience before bringing them back to reality with the harsh thud of its subversive message: a dystopia for the iphone generation.
Robert Robertson is an outsider working in a Binary Back-Up department, living a happy though humdrum life at home with his Gran and sister. But one day he brings a clay man called Golem who will obey his every command and life for the Robertsons is drastically changed. To begin with Golem is helpful: once awoken by a special incantation, he can write Robert’s rows of binary in double time and even get the chores done while the family sleep. But after a software update the line between servant and master gets blurry. By the term Version Two is released the tables have fully turned. Golem becomes a physically embodied quasi-Siri, the latest must-have gadget, and begins to run the world. It glues itself to the TV, spouts advert jingles and turns everything neon yellow. Robert is promised promotions, prosperity, pretty women and that ultimate reward: ‘moving with the times’. He eagerly swaps his devoted but ‘frumpy’ girlfriend for two better models, his brown attire for a geometric romper suit and snazzy new boots but it all comes at a higher cost than poor Joy’s broken, ageing heart: man has stopped controlling technology, technology now controls man.
With a super talented small cast, a sideways glance at our modern world, and a fresh approach to the possibilities of theatre, Golem is game changing. It’s a big reality check after the capitalism-fest we call Christmas. It’s a sneer at the vintage-loving normcore sheep kids. It’s a two finger salute to The Man and The System. It’s a call to arms to the individual, to the artist, to the child in us all. It’s unmissable.