Saturday, 25 June 2011

A GOLEM STORY, Lally Katz, Malthouse, June 24, 2011

A Golem Story, Malthouse Theatre ****

    A GOLEM STORY, by Lally Katz
    Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse, June 24 to July 2, 2011
    Reviewer: Kate Herbert

    The modern world knows only too well the dangers of constructing a weapon – the atomic bomb – to act as a deterrent to enemies. The mythical golem, part of Jewish legend, is such a weapon: a powerful, mute, soulless creature conjured from mud by a Rabbi to protect the Jews from murderous enemies.

    Michael Kantor’s production of Lally Katz’s simple, unembellished narrative, A Golem Story, is enthralling, evocative and provocative.

    Brian Lipson is compelling as the fiercely religious, 16th century Rabbi who creates a golem to protect his Prague synagogue when the Jews, accused of murdering Christian children, are threatened with exile or extinction.

    Yael Stone is exquisitely despairing as Ahava, the naïve girl who wakes in the synagogue with no memory, and through whose eyes we experience the confusion, horror and ecstatic mystery of the golem story.

    Mark Jones is commanding as the oily, egotistical, seductive Emperor, Greg Stone is menacing as his Guard and Dan Spielman is fervent as the disillusioned, rabbinical student.

    The thrilling voice of Michel Laloum intoning poignant, Yiddish songs and backed by a chorus of vocal harmonies, mesmerises and transports us to a mythical place. The stark design of earthy, wooden frames (Anna Cordingley) illuminated by atmospheric, filtered planes of light (Paul Jackson), magically transforms the space.

    A Golem Story is an assured, accomplished and visually stunning production. It is a parable, a critical commentary on bigotry and the hubris of those who believe they can play God regardless of the consequences.

    By Kate Herbert

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