Once again John Lanting adapts a play by his favorite playwright Ray Coony: 'Two into One'. When one mentions Lanting's Theater van de Lach, the first thing that springs to people's mind are lots of slamming doors. Taking this into account, the clever set designer Hans Christiaan took advantage of the audiences expectations and created a rotating set with eleven of them, six of which could be seen all the time.
As usual it takes place on the top floor of a hotel (originaly Het Kurhaus in Scheveningen, changed to "Hotel Den Haag" for this television production) and concerns a politician, Victor Weusink (Hein Boele) planning to have an affair with a colleague's secretary (Anna Crott) while his wife Emma (Bruni Heinke) is off to a fashion show at the Grand Hotel. Unfortunately he asks his bumbling assistant Bram Bunning (John Lanting) to get him another room under an assumed name. Naturaly Bram gets the name wrong and a room right next to the one the Weusinks are staying in. Of course Emma returns too early and decides to throw herself at shy Bram, who soon finds himself lying to both parties involved as well as the hotel staff and is even inventing gay excuses for himself.
Lanting, who apparently thought it good luck to play a character who's initials begin with B, was starting to look a bit too old to play the '40 year old virgin' type by this time, playing secretary to a much younger man. Still, he remains the undisputed star, getting the biggest applause on entrance and immediate laughs at just about everything he says or does. Whenever he's off stage, Hein Boele (Dutch voice of Elmo) and Bruni Heinke (who became a soap star soon after this) are struggling to get some laughs, as the audience appears to be playing favorites. The only other actors they do enjoy are Paul van Soest as Gino the Italian waiter (though he is definitely no Manuel) and Theater van de Lach regular Flip Heeneman as the Hotel Manager (who's appearances are few and far between).
There follows much more confusion involving hay fever medicine and silly disguises, as new excuses must be found each time a political opponent of Victor and a Spanish maid named Maria enter the scene/hotel/stage. Still, the main three actors carry the bulk of the show, pretending to help each other out of trouble while trying not to sink in deeper themselves. Finally, when the two timing secretary's husband arrives and a whole new excuse involving the filming of a screen test is invented, it does start to drag a little bit.
As mentioned before, the two-hotel-room-set is constructed quite ingeniously, and the actors make it seem like two of the doors actually lead to separate bathrooms, while they were really connected to a cramped blind spot behind the set. My one complaint is that they might have painted each hotel room a different color to tell them apart more easily. John Lanting enjoyed this particular play so much, that his Theater van de Lach performed it again on his farewell tour, retitled "Jubileum Hotel", which also marked his 40th year in theater, 25 of which he spend doing farces. The title of this earlier version, "Den Haag Vandaag" incidentally referred to a political TV program at the time.
7 out of 10
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