I'm going to have to google 'Golem', although most of us know it's some kind of monster; interestingly, the two biggest growth industries are leisure and information, and this production mashes them together in the most graphic, surreal way,

The following description is about as plain as you can get: brother and sister, Robert and Annie, live the simple life (no TV) with their grandmother. Both are in a punk band, and there's a nice tip of the hat to Frank Chickens et al; conversely, a scathing reference to U2, one of innumerable deft touches, but let the others come as a nice surprise, Robert gets a job, easy as 1,2,3, with a binary system company, then Phil Sylocates talks him into acquiring his latest invention to make life so much easier. Enter the Golem.

However, you can have too much of a good thing, and so much going on here, it's impossible to take everything in, even names. And jokes. Characters, staging, speech are all inventively skewed which can mean occasional obscurity. But what a dazzling show: visually stunning with innovative use of lighting, video and animation, and equally with sound, from music and song to poetry.

The cast are completely amazing. Phillippa Hambly as hero/villain Robert is irresistibly comical, particularly in speech and movement, and Genevieve Dunne as his fierce, sensible librarian sister Annie also comes into her own as the narrator. Rowena Lennon, oxymoronic Joy, is Robert's downbeat love interest, and an increasingly bewildered grandmother. Meanwhile, Nathan Gregory Is a treat, whether clownish PJ in the band, ambitious Julian at work, persuasive Sylocates or a Gallic charmer at Café Parisien.

Design wise, it's an eye-opener, if inspiration wise, there's a large chunk of Monty Python, eg another kickass nod to the Ministry of Funny Walks, or more accurately, following in those renowned footsteps. Or more accurately still, probably leading the way in animation.

The storytelling is old-fashioned in that the plot is a fairly straightforward morality tale, but like they say, it's the way they tell 'em - imagination has been let loose and soars into gloriously bizarre realms. Basically, quite impossible to describe in order to do it justice so you'll have to go along and see for yourself- indeed, any 1927 production, I'm telling you. Grimm's Tales and Fairyfeller's Master Stroke showed us the sinister underside, and this terribly funny show presents the satirical fairy tale for our times.

Reviewer: Carole Baldock

Reviewed: 18th October 2017

North West End Rating: ★★★★