BWW Review: ALL STARS at Nieuwe Luxor Theater Rotterdam: THE BROMANCE IS REAL
The opening night of All Stars at the Luxor Theater in Rotterdam is a soccer-lover's wet dream. The audience is wearing their club's t-shirt, there's beer and bitterballen, music and good vibes all around. It's like walking into the clubhouse of your favourite team.
All Stars is part of Dutch pop culture. After the film and TV-series, we get to meet the new Swift Boys 8, who are now 25 years old and struggling to fit the team and soccer into their adult life.
Opening strong with original theme song: "Groen als Gras", it fits perfectly and sets the tone of the show. The story is high energy and well-choreographed, showing lots of fun elements, especially in its' decor. The show is a classic coming-of-age story of all the guys in the team and their partners.
The locker room humor is on-going throughout the show, and works like a charm. It's great to see that an actual team has been born, the chemistry between the guys is on point. The bromance is real. The partners of the men, the four leading ladies, are strong, independent women. They are clearly portrayed from the male point-of-view, which is of course relatable to some extent, but it would have been more interesting to act out the same relational problems without portraying the ladies as the cliche nagging party.
Having said that, the original show is set in the 90's, and a lot has changed since then.
Women soccer has flourished and equality in the broadest sense of the word is a daily issue. It was a great moment in the show when one of the ladies said: "Wait, who won the EK (Euro Football Championship) in 2017, the men or the women?" Laughs all around.
It's a great ensemble piece, with lots of actors on stage. The beauty of it lies in the synergy it creates. Still, some extra personal praise is required.
Urvin Monte, playing Mark, is awesome. Charismatic, funny and brings a lot of heart to his character. Jim Bakkum as shy Hero is endearing and his rendition of "Toen ik je Zag" (which also is released as a single) was simply beautiful. Kees Boot plays multiple roles, and has a strong on-stage presence with briljant comic timing. He switches flawlessly from smooth businessman, to elderly father in wheelchair.
There are some surprising plot twists though, which feel a bit unfinished. For instance, the outcome of the love serenade of Hero to the object of his affection Claire (Kiki van Deursen) is unexpected to say the least (if you not have seen the film).
It's a pity that some of the emotional moments are passed by too quickly. The fragmentary style of the show gives little room for further character development. Also, the audibility of some of the lyrics of the songs could be better.
In conclusion, it's a fun show, mixing nostalgia and present time.
Director Frank Lammers has succeeded in transforming a well-loved TV series and film into a contemporary and original Dutch musical comedy, for both men and women to enjoy. In addition, the choreography/staging by the talented Daan Wijnands is a joy to watch. Fun, and perfectly in style with the theme of the show.
The brotherhood of man (and women!) remains powerful and will stand the test of time.
For more info about cast, creatives and tickets: www.allstarsdemusical.nl
Photo credit by Mark Engelen (portraits) en Tom Sebus (scene photography)