Oleg Kerensl schreef 30 december 1982 in The Stage and Television Today


The most ambitous of three one- man shows seen recently in New York was Herman van Veen : All of him, which had a brief run on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre. It is really a cabaret act, of the European type. He sings like Jacques Brel, mimes like Marcel Marceau, does nonsense patter and pretends to conduct like Danny Kaye, and for good measure does some balletic entrechats and climbs over a high wire fence to hide in terror at the end of the first act, and to escape from the world at the end of the second.
New York critics thought his work too derivative, and his manner overdone, but the first-night audience adored him, forcing him to return in his bathrobe, with wet hair, to sing encores sitting on the edge of the stage.
He was backed by three fine musicians and an elaborate sound and lighting plot, in a production directed by Michel Lafaille. His songs, most of which he writes himself, include protest about war and unemployment as well as zany humorous numbers. He is essentially a clown, in the old versatile tradition, and might have been more succesful in a less formal atmosphere.
Arja Saijonmaa, a glamorous Finnish singer who has toured extensively with Mikis Theodorakis, got rave reviews for her New York debut.
At the Village Gate she concentrated on Theodorakis sung mostly in English translations, with two of the bestknown Brecht-Weill songs ("Surabaya Johnny" and "Mack The Knife"), a Russian folksong and some Finnish poens. She projected her material with a strong, attractive, wide-ranging voice, and was backed by a superb groupt of Swedish musicians and a virtuoso Greek bouzouki player.
Comparisons with Marlene Dietrich are a bit premature. If Dietrich had sung about concentration camps, we would have cried. With Miss Saijonmaa, we were inpressed, possibly shocked, but left somewhat cold.

Oleg Kerensl

The Stage and Television Today, December 30, 1982 (Londen)

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