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Review: DAGBOEK VAN EEN HERDERSHOND⭐️⭐️⭐️ at MECC Maastricht!

A trip down memory lane...

Review: DAGBOEK VAN EEN HERDERSHOND⭐️⭐️⭐️  at MECC Maastricht!

Toneelgroep Maastricht and Albert Verlinde Producties bring us a new production this season, Dagboek van een Herdersbond, based on the Dutch television series by Willy van Hemert, which aired from the late 70's to early 80's. A huge success with 6 million viewers.

A television show I have never seen, which is important to mention. The story and characters are therefore new to discover and raises the question whether or not the musical holds its' own without any previous knowledge.

The spectacle musical, as advertised, premieres on Mother Day's May 8th 2022, on a beautiful sunny Sunday in Maastricht, the most southern point of The Netherlands.

Joes Brauers plays the lead, aspiring chaplain Erik Odekerke. He is delightful to watch, a steady actor, the definite good guy. His journey is not as interesting as you would've hoped it'll be though. His character seemed to be pretty one-dimensional, as he didn't pursue neither the obvious love story (his love for Miete) as his devotion to god with the corresponding values his occupation needs. His choices didn't reflect it either way. The good versus evil perspective in his character falls flat, as his choices aren't explained by an inner monologue, song or scene. Especially in the 2nd act, it doesn't make sense.

Review: DAGBOEK VAN EEN HERDERSHOND⭐️⭐️⭐️  at MECC Maastricht!

The unsung heroin of the show is Nandi van Beurden as Miete. Gorgeous vocals, a strong female lead, calm yet brave, an anchor in the community. Progressive for the time period she lived in.

Review: DAGBOEK VAN EEN HERDERSHOND⭐️⭐️⭐️  at MECC Maastricht!

Angela Schijf is the sarcastic and fiery guardian angel of Erik. She helps narrate the story with a critical point of view, a Che to Evita if you will. As angelic as her presence is, as rigid are her beliefs. The progressive voice of reason. Angela is a great actress. In this direction of Servé Hermans, her guardian angel is pretty devilish, to the point where you question on whose side she's really on.

Some of the other characters don't make narrative sense though. The role of Ghislaine (Kaylee Peters) is an enigma. She died young whilst enjoying life but she still lingers in the land of the living for no apparent reason. Pretty much on stage all the time, but why? Ronald Jorritsma plays Bertus, a boy who suffered brain damage because of oxygen deficiency. He is also in love with Miete (is she the only woman in the village?) loves the fanfare and tragedy befalls upon him... What moral addition brings Bertus's tale to the table? Then the 'bad guy' Rene Bongaerts (a convincing Javan Hoen). Also in love with Miete. Performs an unfortunate act which seems way out of character, and afterwards makes it even worse. Again why? Just to add drama?

Review: DAGBOEK VAN EEN HERDERSHOND⭐️⭐️⭐️  at MECC Maastricht!

Why is a question that rises throughout the plot. There's little to no character development, story lines are thin at best or seem to lack a direction or point of view.

The decor is grand, but sensational? No. The cast ís grand, but couldn't show off their range, as their characters hardly grow.Is it a trip down memory lane? Probably, as I haven't seen the television series, I can only assume.

Also, it doesn't help that the actual sight lines are blocked by the tribune/ staircase, from where I was sitting.

What was really enjoyable:

The beautiful trio "Maar Niet Voor Mij" (music Ad Van Dijk, lyrics André Breedland) was not only well-sung, also a musical number as it should be, helping the story along with more understanding of the unexplored desires of these characters.

Review: DAGBOEK VAN EEN HERDERSHOND⭐️⭐️⭐️  at MECC Maastricht!

In conclusion, director Servé Hermans transformed a story which is of part the golden age of Dutch television into a contemporary piece for the theatre with a live fanfare, a huge decor and cast and let's not forget the beautiful horse and carriage.

Was it fun? Yes. Did it translate well? I can't be the judge of this. For the people of Limburg who have lived this, may be a nice portret of days past, a nostalgic era piece. But for me, as I'm neither from Limburg nor haven't seen the original series, not my cup of tea.

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Photo Credits: Roy Beusker

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