DIANE DE BEER schreef in augustus in een zuid afrikaanse krant

Hats off to silly, sad Herman van Veen

SHOW: Hoed Af, Herman van Veen VENUE: Opera State Theatre DATE: Saturday

Small wonder his production company is called Harlekijn Holland, because that's exactly what the spectacular Herman van Veen is a Dutch harlequin.

One who can sing opera (soprano, tenor and baritone), has a Japanese monologue without speaking a word of the language, make magic that's not magic at all and thus becomes magical, play the violin masterfully, sing magnificently, fill a stage with ping-pong balls and top hats for no reason at all and have an audience of about 800 in stitches for more than 90 minutes.

In fact, he's the cure for anyone who suffers from the blues. From the minute he dances on stage to the end of his standing ovation and encore, the entertainment is spectacular. Anyone who wants to go on stage should see a Herman van Veen DVD as compulsory viewing. It all seems quite effortless and his honesty with his audience is enchanting.

Typically of the man, someone with an outsize heart, he has gathered the two best musicians around him. He knows that talent deserves talent and thus his audience is thrice blessed. Guitarist (and vocalist) Edith Leerkes and percussionist/vocalist Wieke Garcia are simply sublime. Together, the trio of performers will have you sitting in total awe while you are blissfully entertained. Van Veen was right when he said you don't have to understand Dutch to get his show.

He is spectacularly silly and seriously sad at the same time. Make a note and catch him next time round. He seems to make it to this corner of the world every few years. It's worth the wait.