The Malthouse Theatre Melbourne – ‘A Golem Story’

June 22nd, 2011


The Malthouse Theatre’s presentation of ‘A Golem Story’, a production written by Lally Katz and directed by Michael Kantor.  ‘A Golem Story’- theatre review by Stephanie Ryan-Smith

  •   Now Showing till 2 July 2011

Wednesday the 15th of June 2011 
MiSociety Melbourne’s, Stephanie Ryan-Smith, attended the official opening night of The Malthouse Theatre’s presentation of ‘A Golem Story’, a production written by Lally Katz and directed by Michael Kantor.

Set in Prague in the late 1500’s, ‘A Golem Story’ is a mystical tale of long held Hebrew suffering, persecution, longing  and the search for spiritual acceptance. Mysteriously, the gentile children of Prague are showing up dead, hideously drained of their blood. The Emperor (Mark Jones) blames the Jews and threatens to evict them from their synagogue.

Awaken from a deep amnesic sleep is Ahava, (Yael Stone) who can only remember her fiancé’s violent death prior to their marriage, but is alarmed to discover she feels no connection to God and that an emptiness fills her. The Rabbi (Brian Lipson) is the first person Ahava sees, and he approaches her with extreme caution in fear of what she will remember.  Being pushed to their faithful limits, and against the will of the Rabbi’s student, Amos, (Dan Spielman) The Rabbi turns to the sacred texts of the Kabbala to create a Golem to save and protect the Jewish people.

All that unfolds thereafter is intensely dramatic and internally conflicting, accompanied by the hauntingly-heavenly Jewish hymns that were beautifully sung throughout by all cast members.  Mark Jones under the guidance of Jewish and Religious consultant/cantor Michael Laloum, did a marvelous job of the musical arrangement for this play, consisting only of the cast member’s voices.

I particularly enjoyed the character, script and performance of Mark Jones. Especially through his character, there was a subtle element of comedy which was needed in such an intense and emotional play. The role of the Guard (Greg Stone) although clearly anti-Semetic, was strangely very likable and was indeed a very physical actor, while I found Dan Spielman’s character of Amos (although brilliantly played) quite  frustrating due to his unbecoming fear and unquestionable view on morality.

Brian Lipson and Yael Stone projected so much energy into their roles which I commend them for, among the rest of the cast, as such constant intensity would be physically taxing. The element of difficulty is raised again due to all of the songs being sung in Hebrew which I imagine to be challenging, even for those who already may have known Hebrew. The performance overall was authentic and uncontrived.

For a quality cultural and educational experience of live drama, I encourage you to go see ‘A Golem Story’ at The Malthouse Theatre for yourself before the closing date of July 2, 2011.  – Stephanie Ryan-Smith

Malthouse Theatre website

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