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‘The Accountants’ – Indian and Chinese dancers dialogue in original large vision scale piece created by Keith Khan

‘The Accountants’  – Indian and Chinese dancers dialogue in original large vision scale piece created by Keith Khan

Review of a new show that mixes dance and modern forms of communication…

By Suman Bhuchar

THE PREMIERE of the stage spectacle ‘The Accountants’ conceived and directed by Keith Khan is taking place at Aviva Studios in Manchester and will run until May 11.

The Accountants’ is a ‘hybrid’ art form that uses movement, sound, music and text to look at the collision of cultures between the world’s two global superpowers – India and China.

It’s a spectacle that uses the cavernous cultural space to good effect.

A scene from the world premiere of Keith Khan’s The Accountants presented by Factory International, choreographed by Terence Lewis, Mahrukh Dumasia and Xie Xin pic: ©Tristram Kenton

There are 12 performers of Indian and Chinese heritage drawn from
Terence Lewis Contemporary Dance Company from Mumbai and Xiexin Dance
Theatre, Shanghai.

They populate the stage in various ways working on accounting and data statistics, while the big backdrop of a screen keeps churning out information about different facts on the two countries – which you strain to take in – ranging from the density of the geographical
landscape to the number of films produced by each country, to life expectancy, to historical facts.

Sometimes the dancers move around to the pulsating music and dance tracks created by sound artist Somatic.

The Accountants‘ by Keith Khan pic: ©TristamKenton

You feel you are being put into a trance and as you take the ideas in, there is more to come. It’s fast paced and dynamic with people moving around as though in a busy market place. There is a lot of information being thrown around and you struggle to take it all in.

Two big smart phones are suspended on each side of the stage and through that our two characters Liam (voiced by Josh Hart) and Auntie Kash (the voice of Shobna Gulati) communicate with each other through voice notes and text.

It’s an engaging interaction – he is trying to find himself through travels in India and China, while she is at home in Manchester and sends him words of wisdom until she’s not there.

The video and interactive visuals are created by the team idontloveyouanymore with lighting by Simon Corder.

The Accountants by Keith Khan pic: ©TristramKenton

In the second part of the show the mood changes to be more reflective and the video screen draws up and the deep stage is opened up more. Sombre figures in white crouch or sit on stools and then begin to perform a range of choreographed movement sequences which are fluid in

The finale is a very Bollywood type dance number.

Alongside this, the phone keeps punching out the big questions of life that you can ponder on your way home – such as is it better to eat with a fork, hand or chopsticks? Or who controls what you see?

Or whatever manner of identity you seek through travelling, it is in the words of Auntie Kash close at hand.

As she says: “I like to come back home to the things I know and put the kettle on!”

It’ s a beautiful show boldly put together and is a dazzling theatrical experience.

Acv rating: **** (out of five)

‘The Accountants’ by Keith Khan is on until Saturday (May 11).
Aviva Studios, Water Street, Manchester M3 4JQ.

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture