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Golem (Trafalgar Studios)

1927's production has transferred from the Young Vic to the West End

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Charlotte Dubery, Shamira Turner and Lillian Henley in 1927's Golem
© Bernhard Müller

Prior to reading this review it's likely you checked your Facebook. You may not have noticed, but nestled in the right hand margin of your timeline were advertisements, thousands of pixels vying for your attention - calls to action tailored to your interests, from companies you've 'liked' to products that you've viewed on other websites that placed cookies in your browser and have since followed you around like someone you accidentally made eye contact with at a party who now wants to be your friend.

With every website you visit, your computer or device learns more about you than most of your friends and family will ever know, it will make suggestions based on your past behaviour; what to eat tonight, where to go on holiday, who to date, what unlicensed weight-loss medication to buy. It's this ever-increasing influence corporations possess over your life choices that 1927's Golem investigates.

Loosely based on Gustav Meyrink's dark thriller Der Golem, Golem focuses on the life of Robert. Stuck in a dead-end job, he lives with his grandma, plays Keytar in a gigless punk band and is ridiculed 'just because he's Robert'. Then he buys Golem, a man made of clay that will obey his every command and the latest in a line of new-age inventions from crackpot entrepreneur Phil Sylocate. With the help of Golem, Robert turns his life around; he's promoted, improves his fashion and acquires not one, but two girlfriends. But no sooner than he becomes accustomed to the benefits of his new friend/slave, Golem version 2 is released (sound familiar Apple fans?) and, controlled more by its maker than its owner, begins to influence every aspect of Robert's life.

Rose Robinson in 1927's Golem
(© Bernhard Müller)

1927's production, written and directed with military precision by Suzanne Andrade, is unlike anything you would have seen before. The cast of five - including spectacular turns from Shamira Turner as Robert and Rose Robinson in a plethora of finely tuned caricatures - combine seamlessly with live music and Paul Barritt's hypnotic animation and video design to produce a theatrical event that is so on the money it's practically Elizabeth Fry.

At times repetitive, some points are driven home slightly harder than needed, and it's true that, from George Orwell's 1984 to James Graham's recent smash hit Privacy at the Donmar, the topic is somewhat hackneyed. But the way it's being said is refreshingly original - albeit with influences from silent movies to Morph, Tim Burton to Monty Python - and as I sit on the train and type this review on my iPhone version 6 the free wifi pops up to suggest I sign up to a credit score agency for £15 a month, proving how desperately a new angle is needed on this subject.

Golem runs at the Trafalgar Studios until 22 May. Click here for more information and to book tickets.