Fred Haché and Barend Servet are reunited after "The Fred Haché Show" and "Barend is Weer Bezig" and joined by rising star Sjef van Oekel in this 1973 VPRO Christmas Special which aims to cause controversy at every turn. It seems to start innocently enough, with a Magical Mystery Tour vibe as a group of artist arrives at the Studio in Hilversum by bus. That is until you notice none of the Helen Le Clerq Dancers are wearing an inch of clothing. Van Oekel is traveling separately in a beat up old car, and is last to enter the building. He is in such a hurry he doesn't give the sliding doors enough time to open and so crashes smack into them. Always good for a laugh, that is.
Sjef tries to open the show, but is interrupted by an impostor claiming to be Haché, who is in turn interrupted by the real deal. Then a fake Barend Servet (who unlike the previous one is actually a credible lookalike from a distance) shows up in the middle of a sentence. It basically goes on in this unprofessional manner for the duration of the show. There are sketches that feel a bit Monty Pythonish merely by the fact that they are so random and unpredictable and every musical number is cut short in some manner and usually accompanied by the nude dancers.
Since it's a Christmas special, a priest trying to hold a mass throughout (this character will later become known as Reverend Bongers in Van Oekel's Disco Hoek), Gerrit Dekzijl tries to put on a nativity play with typical disastrous results and her royal majesty Queen Juliana appears (or rather another impersonator) to give her X-mas message and comment on the proceedings. This last part drew more protests from viewers and caused a lot of VPRO members to cancel their subscriptions, even more so than the strip act by Christina Astoria (that was interrupted by a man lecturing on Christianity) or the sketch about Christmas decorations that included every possible balls joke imaginable.
Clearly satisfied by their accomplishment, Ruud van Hemert, Wim van der Linden, Wim T. Schippers, Gied Jaspars & Ellen Jens released a record containing all the new musical numbers heard in this special (and some more). And shortly after that, the VPRO granted Sjef his own monthly music program (the aforementioned Disco Hoek). Naturally not a single episode of that show went without plugging the Waar Heb Dat Nou Voor Nodig long playing record (available for 13.95 Dutch Guilders).
8 out of 10
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