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The Accountants | Factory International

Though it may be a clichéd notion, The Accountants is very much a show of two halves, the first displaying a distinct lack of identity or cohesion, whilst the second provides some much desired semblance of clarity. The premise centres around a young British-Asian man called Liam, and his British-Indian “aunty” Kash, and their various exchanges relating to the former’s travels to both India and China; it’s a disjointed relationship that we never really feel like we can fully grasp onto, as their personal connection, or lack thereof, doesn’t emanate a great deal of sincerity or relatability.

Prior to the performance, we are presented with an enormous LCD monitor, displaying a spreadsheet that dots back and forth frenetically between various pieces of seemingly random data, collected in real-time from the audience by means of a QR code; either side of this are two smartphone screens that document the central relationship between the two aforementioned characters. The latter provides an almost running commentary on the performance that has both Indian and Chinese culture at its core, as we delve into both the cultural and societal history of both countries, with the projections on the central monitor playing a large part of contextualising everything.

The two dance companies, the Terence Lewis Contemporary Dance Company from Mumbai, and Xiexin Dance Theatre from Shanghai, combine to perform some bold, fresh and evocative material by the joint choreography team of Lewis, Xin and Mahrukh Dumasia. The trio combine elements of both ballet and contemporary, as well as traditional Chinese and Indian dance, to create something beautiful and unique, that is performed brilliantly by all twelve dancers.

Unfortunately, as strong as the dance content itself was, all of the visual and technological elements surrounding the stage on the three screens drew far too much attention away from what was happening on the stage during the first act, which was rather puzzling, and disappointing given that it was, first and foremost, a dance show. The video elements, rather than providing ample accompaniment, largely distracted from the choreography, and the feeling was that director Keith Khan and his creative team could have given the opening 45 minutes or so more room to breathe, to better balance the creative elements and create something more artistically coherent. What we got instead was a jumbled mess, where as many references and contextual aids as possible were thrown in altogether, in what for the most part felt like sensory overload, and we as an audience didn't know where our attention should be focused.

Thankfully the second act is where this piece found its feet, and we were treated to some stunning performances, individually as well as collectively. With a far more definitive sense of progression and a delightful culmination of the previous hour or so, both dance companies come together to unite in a powerful, stirring combined section that showcased movement and synchronisation of the highest quality all around. It should also be highlighted how good Simon Corder’s lighting design is, as well as composition by Somatic, expertly fusing music of different cultures together. This was an extremely well performed piece of dance, by a massively talented group of dancers, it was just a shame that the show struggled to communicate a definitive sense of artistic identity throughout.

The Accountants runs at Factory International until 11th May - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Tristram Kenton


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