Van Duin sketch show made up to look like a musical
Here we have one of André van Duin's lesser known productions, a self proclaimed 'TV-musical' that originally aired in 1982 on TROS television. Well at least it was unknown to me. I had never heard about it until I found it in 8 pieces on Youtube. And I was a pretty big André fan back in '82, but it still managed to slip by me completely. Must have had something better to do that night... Anyway, I'm sure that if I had seen it way back when, I would have loved every minute of it. Now, however, I'm a bit more critical. For one thing, it's supposed to be a musical, yet there are only five songs in it. Four of those are used up before we reach the halfway point (the last one leads into the end credits, naturally). So what's left is just the usual sort of sketches with a frame work story about a baroness recounting her entire life to her biographer. Van Duin apparently tried this after deciding to quit touring the country for a while (a decision he has gone back on several times since then). I know this because he mentions it himself during one of the many occasions he breaks the fourth wall.
André plays six different characters in Boem-Boem but none of them get a chance to be fleshed out and half of them are rather pointless, really. Straight man Frans van Dusschoten also appears in six different guises, but Corry van Gorp only plays one person, albeit at many different stages of her life. As we being, it's 1960 and the 64 year old Baroness Cornelia Stoutenbeek tot Voorst (Van Gorp) has hired a journalist named De Boer (Van Dusschoten) to ghost write her autobiography. André appears in these sequences as her loyal but not very helpful butler, Jacob. Back in 1910 the Baroness was still plain Nelly Wortel, daughter of a prostitute (though she thought her mother was a nurse). One day she met rich boy Walter van Wezel (Van Duin sporting his usual red hair) and the two of them immediately fell for each other. In fact, each time they touch, two angels inexplicably appear in the sky. Wait a minute, I made a miscalculation: that's seven characters for Van Duin and two for Van Gorp. Of course Walter's mother objects to him seeing a common girl like Nelly and makes sure he gets engaged to Diane (Annelies Balhan) instead.
The show appears to be filmed in a studio without the benefit of an audience. Unfortunately, somebody made sure the laugh-track button was pressed continuously every time André is on screen. Even Walter and Nelly's only romantic number keeps getting interrupted by canned laughter. Nelly tries to get some money from her greedy landlord (Van Duin made up to look like a cross between Scrooge and Fagin) in a rather pointless flashback, then starts working as a cigarette girl in a cabaret hall. Here a black haired Van Duin performs the title number, Boem-Boem with a French accent as Pierre Durant. After the start of the Great War, Nelly marries a dimwitted soldier called Kees (Van Duin with thick glasses and a silly hat) but loses him before the beginning of the next flashback. On learning that her great love Walter has been captured by the Germans, she sets out to find him by joining a musical act (which we don't get to see) and only finds Pierre, who is suffering from amnesia.
When the war is over, Walter and Nelly finally meet up again on board the 'Titania' which promptly sinks. Walter manages to save everyone aboard except Pierre (well, how could he, as they are played by the same person). All during this, Van Duin keeps doing his trademark routines, referencing 80's pop culture such as Dallas, the Dolly Dots, the TROS and Veronica networks etc. And the laugh track never stops howling with joy. Nelly finally manages to get rich by impressing the Prince of Luxenstein (guess who) who also conveniently kicks the bucket (she's like a black widow, that woman). Of course she doesn't find her true love again until the very end of the story, but by that time most people will have guessed the predictable outcome already. Rounding out the cast were Jaap Stobbe as Nelly's other lover Sjaak, Paul van Gorkum in his usual guise as a priest in once scene and the under-appreciated Hans Leenderse in 6 different (unimportant) roles. All in all it was a nice effort by all concerned, but it could have been just as good in the usual sketch format without a contrived framework to fall back on.
6 out of 10
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