Ina Randall schreef 12 sept 2006 in The Herald (SA)
First class cabaret from Dutch artists
HOED AF, A FULL-STAGE CABARET WITH HERMAN VAN VEEN AND EDITH LEERKES (Opera House).
DUTCH performing artist Herman van Veen is a troubadour, a court jester rather than a clown, but, above all, he is a consummate entertainer.
His once-off show in the Port Elizabeth Opera House found tremendous favour with an audience "? who watched him cleverly work his way through a demanding repertoire with deceptive ease.
The programme included two stunning cover versions of Windmills of my Mind and Ne Me Quitte Pas, translated into Dutch.
In the true spirit of cabaret, Van Veen clothes barbed social comment in wry humour and delivers it in a basket of musical enjoyment.
His narrative is taken from the family perspective and extended to the world at large.
A boy ambles out of the house but his mother calls him back, demanding to know if he has done his homework, has covered all the subjects. Years later he looks at a little prostitute on the street and then a wounded soldier, both so painfully young, and he wants to ask: "Have you done your homework? Have you covered all the subjects?"
Contained in a simple song, this poignant comment is typical of his work.
An old suitcase, startling white shoes, a fringe of grey hair around a bald pate enhances the atmosphere Van Veen strives to create-But his most precious foil is, without any doubt, classical guitarist Edith Leerkes. I have to admit that she was the prime reason I wanted to see the show. Having a love of the guitar, I could have done with a lot more from her in this presentation.
Still, the two solos she played were superb and her accompaniment to the songs and antics of her fellow artist added immeasurably to the impact of :he presentation.
Barefoot in black, she brings along a playful tem-lestuousness aspect as they "duel" with the guitar md fiddle.
The presentation is done mainly in Dutch and, iccause the lyrics are so important, one really should be able to understand them.
The Afrikaans ear finds this quite easy and it even idds a special charm - to me it is always rather like istening to English spoken with a French accent.
Going Dutch in the Opera House proved a quite lelightful experience.