William B. Collins schreef 4 december in de Philadelphia Inquirer

Van Veen: A clever show that mixes music, mime

Saturday. Dec. 4. 1982

The balding Dutchman who commandeered the stage of the Shubert Theater last night is something else in show business. A kinetic philosophe,. perhaps. He sings his own songs and those of other people we haven't heard of either. He dances, hitchhikes, plays the violin nicely and the piano madly and,. just before intermission, he b1ows up the world.
foto: chris janssen, 1997 Herman van Veen is passing through town on the way to his Broadway debut in what his producers can only helplessly call "a muscal show" on the program, although Herman van Veen: All of Him is that and a couple of other things. He is doing two performances here, the second one this evening.
With three backup musicians, an awesomely tricky sound system and staging that favors stark, stabbing light effects, van Veen navigates his way through the landscape of contemporary life in full awareness that it is a mine field for the human spirit.
There is a song about a girl who comes home from the drug clinic to an indifferent family, and another one about cowards who "live because they're clever" and heroes who "die and live forever.-" There is even an Ode to Suicide in which a suicide. prone man's conscience keeps him alive to die a natural death. That's entertainment? Well, no, not in the variety-show sense. People who want to check out this fellow - and he is eminently worth checking out - should proceed with the understanding that he is in the poetry business and is utterly serious about what is happening to us as we mill around looking for something to take our minds off it.
Van Veen is also a skillful mime. Attired informally in white, he creates images that are flashes of insight, rather like the guy who draws those disturbing cartoons on the editorial page. Unemployment? Van Veen walks straight toward the source of light. introducing himself and saying he is looking for work, and the light goes out. He turns and repeats himself and another light is extinguished. And so on, until the last light goes out before he has a chance to say anything.
Nuclear suicide? Yes, the simulated big boom feels strong enough to blow every fuse in the place. It sends the man scampering up and over a cyclone fence, behind which he finds himself a prisoner. The image defies logic, as poetry so often does, but it is gripping.
In the first act, after a while, I began to feel weighed down by the gloom. Van Veen has an overload problem, which could probably be worked out with more judicious rearrangement. It is too much of a relief when he turns to lighter, more antic material, like the virtuoso bit with the piano in which he plays a piece of music composed for every sound that can be made on or with a piano both as a musical instrument and a piece of furniture.
Given the generally thoughtful aspect of the show, van Veen's sudden spastic switch to rock parody comes as a shock, but it is good and it is funny.
The concept and the continuity are the product of a collaboration between van Veen and his director, Michel Lafaille. Rob Munnik is the hotshot lighting designer. That great sound system was put together by Hans van der Linden. Erik van der Wurff (keyboard) is the music director, with whom van Veen wrote several of the songs.

By William B. Collins
1nquirer Theater Critic

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