Review: Chotto Desh – Southbank

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Learning Respect

A young man calls his phone company for help with a fault and is annoyed that the call centre is based in Bangladesh – the land of his father – and not England, writes Michael Holland.

Akram Khan Company’s Chotto Desh(small homeland) tells through dance, mime and fantastic animations, the story of how this young man learnt respect. We see in dance and flashback how his father tried to bring him up correctly and how he fought against it. His mother would be the arbiter between them.

The phone call reminds him of a father who he has had a troublesome relationship with. His mind is transported back to that far away place as he battles with thoughts manifested as Bangladeshi traffic through movement and mime. 

Photo: Pete Woodhead

A whole team have come together to make stories that had the feel of long-forgotten myths and legends, and weaved them in with fables already written to create a family show that is enjoyed from the very youngest to the oldest, although on different levels.

But it did not matter if the children did not fully understand the complex and nuanced relationship that is found in families because Chotto Desh is a visual wonder that kept us all transfixed.

The dance and mime by Nico Ricchini is amazing, he was non-stop for just about every second as he performs with chairs, acts alongside remote voices that required precision timing, and interacts with animated backdrops that came alive with snakes, bees and elephants. Even the shadows he forms became additional actors in his world.

At the end, the young man battles with London traffic and he realises that it is just as difficult to negotiate as in Bangladesh. Traffic is life and we are all facing the difficulties it throws up if we are not alert and aware and willing to learn.

Everyone appreciated different aspects of this production, which is what makes it perfect for families.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX until 10th February. £14 – £24.

Times: 2.30pm & 6.30pm.



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