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Enough with the intro and the outro, 3 February 2009
Author: Chip_douglas from Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Dr. Lucien Petypon (Eric Schneider) wakes up after a night of
boozing to find dancing girl 'Garnaaltje' (Josine van Dalsum) in his
bed it is only the beginning of his troubles. Hiding her from his wife
Gabriëlle (Adèle Bleomendaal) is just about manageable, but things get
out of hand when his uncle the General (Coen Flinck) arrives to invite
the Petypons to his niece's wedding. The General is immediately
enchanted by Garnaaltje, whom he assumes to be Mme. Petypon. During the
party at the château, Garnaaltje is an unexpected hit with the men as
well as the ladies, who mistake her uneducated behavior for the latest
Paris fashion. Unfortunately Gabrielle belatedly arrives thinking she
was invited too (the invitation did say Mme. Petypon after all). Also,
the impending bridegroom, Lt. Corignon (Jules Hamel) turns out to be a
former lover of Garnaaltje. Even after returning home to Paris, the
charade isn't over for Petypon, and a new invention to immobilize
patients in a dentist chair keeps being used to get people out of
sticky situations instead.
John van de Rest adapted and directed this Dutch version of Georges Feydeau's "La Dame de Chez Maxim's". Broadcast in 6 installments of varying lengths, this would probably have been better off being presented as one two hour farce. As it stands now, The middle two episodes, set at the party in a château and featuring more than a dozen different characters, are the highlights. The preceding and concluding two set in the Petypon household are less satisfying. The most tiresome part of each episode however, is a five minute introduction supposedly set at Le Maxim which I will attempt to describe in the next paragraph. This little seen mini-series was broadcast in January of 2009 without any fanfare as part of a month long celebration of the work of Adèle Bloemendaal (who doesn't even appear in all six episodes) on digital channel Hilversumbest. While I applaud the fact that they screened each episode completely uncut, I can't help but think that were "Kant Aan m'n Broek!" ever to be released on DVD, it will most likely be edited down somewhat for today's audiences. Most especially the endless opening sequence...
Before we settle down into the actual story, we open on composer Tonny Eyk, almost unrecognizable with slicked back olive oil hair, conducting an unidentified orchestra playing the entr' acte. Can Can dancing girls burst out to do their wild dance and are soon joined by male dancers posing as waiters. After this, Josine van Dalsum enters the stage as Garnaaltje (Crevette in French). She leads the audience in a singalong version of the title number "Kant aan m'n broek", which also serves as her leitmotif and catchphrase during the entire series. She belts out the number with great gusto but, like the character she is playing, her performance won't be to everyone taste. Finally as the audience gives her an ovation of applause, she beckons them to quiet down, tells us the number of the episode and opens the curtains to reveal the first scene projected on a blue screen. On a side note, 5 of the 6 episode all start with a close up of a statue, reminding me of that episode of the Monkees in which the four of them accused director James Frawley of always beginning with a close up of their stuffed monkey. Now this whole charade would be a fine introduction to the first episode, but to feature the exact same footage six times in a row is a bit much.
The main story of "Kant Aan m'n Broek!", the farce itself, is filmed without the benefit of a live studio audience (or even a laugh track) but at the end of each installment the curtain closes and Tonny Eyk's orchestra plays up again as the public at 'Maxim's' get up and leave during the end credits. The play comedy of mistaken identities still works well, and viewers are constantly kept up to date as to the what the characters are thinking about each other since most of them regularly make assides explaining their inner-monologue. However, the special psychiatrist chair with blinking lights on the side that makes anyone who comes into contact with it freeze up and go into a dream like state is a bit far fetched and cartoony even for a play such as this. The performances range from hyper (Adèle Bloemendaal as Gabriëlle) to the subdued (Pieter Lutz as Mongicourt) with Eric Schneider displaying a flair for comedy as Petypon and Josine van Dalsum occupying center stage as Garnaaltje. She would play a similar but much more dramatic part in another production also directed by her husband John v.d. Rest in 1981: "Mata Hari".
7 out of 10
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