Dance Ambassador Alex Speake reviews Akram Khan’s DESH at The Lowry on Thu 13 November.
Darkness and silence. As a theatre’s eyes are transfixed upon a single hovering lantern. Until it is set down to give way for our soloist to prize out their treasure from its unforgiving bed.
An ominous start to Akram Khan’s ‘DESH’, a contemporary piece that is not to be viewed lightly, as it is a complex piece which skips and jumps from Khan’s own experiences, to his thoughts and views upon modern day living and culture, onto tales from a money-stricken Bangladesh that the audience can only assume have been spoken to him from a young age. But this is by no way a reason to miss the show, each designed and developed aspect worked so incredibly well with the others, allowing the audience to understand Khan’s presented ideas, and not to get sidetracked into the depth of these thoughts.
Jocelyn Pook’s composition and collation of music, singing and sound effects were an interesting mix yet, when teamed up with the set and performer, showed their full potential by showing an intricate correlation between the visual and audio effects. Due to this interact, I can only be left wondering wether the question of which was created first.
Tim Yip and Michael Hulls’ set and lighting design was a masterpiece, allowing the audience to succumb and experience every moment of the show.
A particular favourite part if this piece, for me, was a portion within the modern day Khan told his young daughter a story of a poor Bangladeshi child. This fuse of narrative, physical theatre and illustration allowed each individual member of the audience to imagine the story through the eyes of Khan’s daughter.
In summary, Khan’s work bridges gaps between the audience and performer in detailed and delicate ways to explain his thoughts and views on him trying to find balance in the unstable world he is surrounded by. Expressive, powerful and sometimes humorous, ‘DESH’ is a piece that doesn’t end as you walk out of the theatre, it’s ideas and thoughts are rooted so deep within the culture of today that you are unable to stop debating them in your head.
There are still tickets available for tonight’s performance of DESH at The Lowry and remember Dance Ambassadors can get £5 tickets! All you need to do is quote YDA when booking online or by calling 0843 208 6010