Just two weeks after our visit to Priscilla another musical appeared in our agenda. This one was a special as organised by work. It was not a musical that I desperately wanted to see, though reviews are good. however it was not a story that spoke to me in many ways.
The story is about the Soldier of Orange; Erik Hazelhoff Roelofzema. He is one of our WWII war heroes and his story has been set to musical, with many many changes to what actually happened. Still that is what happens if you try o squeeze 6 years into a 3 hours show. Literary freedom dictates that people and situations sort of merge together.
Why did we then go. Well it was one of the very few times that there was an end of year party with a theme that spoke to me. Usually they do something like massive party with band or a dinner/theater show with magicians. So very much not my cup of tea, so I had not attended one of those in the years I work there. But this, well at least it is a musical and though I would never fork our for the tickets for this particular one the reduced price was such that we said well why not.
We arrived right on time and were swiftly moved upstairs where the people from work gathered. We had a dinner there (stamppot) which was in line with the musical in many ways, very Dutch. Just before 20.00 we were requested to got to our seats. SO ona d I had seats relatively at the from but very much to the side. Which meant that we had to sit in our seats at an angle.
The theatre is amazing. Technically it is spectacular. The podium is circular and circles through the different sets. Yet initially it does get to the point where you feel a little seasick. The use of pictures and film in the background is marvelous. and really cleverly done. The sets are well built and include the actual tarmac with old Dakota plane (it is on an old airfield) and real water with waves. When those is in use you actually feel the outside weather (tarmac, which in our case was cold and wet) or cooling effects of water. Thankfully we had been warned to dress warm. This was during the show a welcome addition. The costumes and atmosphere bring you right back to the war years.
However as technically spectacular as it is, the musical does not dazzle. The singing is mediocre (and sometimes even well off key), the story feels bitty and disjointed. The acting is acceptable, but not of high standard. Though in many ways the initial part of the story is quite topical, as it relates to what choices do you make in a crisis situation it failed to grab me completely. I did not feel immersed, it always felt flat.
As we drove home we agreed that though we had had a nice evening and felt that it was good that we had seen the musical we were also glad we had not paid full price. Our inital apprehension which had resulted in not going to see it before had proven to be correct. SO and I also agreed that in this could have something to do with the fact that we’d just seen Priscilla, which from a technical point was not as clearly done as Soldier of Orange, it was way more spectacular, enjoyable and in part because the singing and acting was just so 100% much better.
So our overall verdict on this musical’ It was nice, but not an experience worth repeating.