Review: BONI THE MUSICAL – A HEARTFELT HOMAGE TO THE SPIRIT OF SURINAME ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ at DeLaMar Theater

Wi na Boni!

By: Nov. 26, 2023
Review: BONI THE MUSICAL – A HEARTFELT HOMAGE TO THE SPIRIT OF SURINAME ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ at DeLaMar Theater

Suriname, circa 1730 – 1793. Boni, a young freedom fighter who turned guerrilla leader fights to liberate the slaves working on plantations, under Dutch colonial rule. The so-called “Boni-Wars” are historically known as the first successful attempts to break away from slavery and fight back. Directed by Stanley Burleson, choreographed by Roy Jonathans, script by Lars Boom, music and arrangements by Norman van Geerke, lyrics by Lars Boom and Sranan compositions/ lyrics by Vincent Soekra.

Review: BONI THE MUSICAL – A HEARTFELT HOMAGE TO THE SPIRIT OF SURINAME ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ at DeLaMar Theater

Slavery, a heavy subject for a musical, you might say. Be that as it may, the musical is a hopeful and glorious homage to the Surinamese struggle and the fighting spirit of its people. It’s a powerful piece of an ensemble theater, where the whole as a group is equally as important as the main characters.

Review: BONI THE MUSICAL – A HEARTFELT HOMAGE TO THE SPIRIT OF SURINAME ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ at DeLaMar Theater

Urvin Monte is Boni. He does as wonderful job as the ambitious and kind-hearted Boni.   He fully invites you on this journey, highs and lows, with a life force to be reckoned with.

Review: BONI THE MUSICAL – A HEARTFELT HOMAGE TO THE SPIRIT OF SURINAME ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ at DeLaMar Theater

The absolute queen of this story is Jeannine La Rose, as Boni’s mother. Her angelic and powerful vocals are bone-chilling in a good way. Her character also doubles as a spirit guide for Boni, who he can always turn to for advice. Melissa Kanza as Afiba, a female-warrior, is a force of nature. She plays the role with a certain grace and calm. A special shout-out to Juan Wells as De Friderice & Obiaman. As De Friderice he is wickedly evil, a true politician, and takes great pleasure in his actions.  

Review: BONI THE MUSICAL – A HEARTFELT HOMAGE TO THE SPIRIT OF SURINAME ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ at DeLaMar Theater

The choreography is intense and powerful. Energetic, flowing through multiple styles and all performed brilliantly by the talented and seemingly tireless cast. Roy Jonathans proves once again he is a versatile choreographer, who creates another world through the language of dance and movement.

The costumes are also noteworthy. The colorful and Surinamese creations (costume design by Meredith Joeroeja & Ilse Vermeulen) are clearly of high quality, tailored to perfection and historically relevant. The use of Tembe art, Afaka writings and Pangi are one more detail in the tribute to the motherland.

Scribi switi mama, the last song of Act 1, is one of the most beautiful requiems I have ever heard. The Surinamese soul and spirit is fully on display there, and it’s gorgeous.

Review: BONI THE MUSICAL – A HEARTFELT HOMAGE TO THE SPIRIT OF SURINAME ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ at DeLaMar Theater

The musical might be a tad on the long side, but that’s a minor thing compared to the full celebration of the culture and its people, the struggles, the story and the inevitable ending.

Once the final scene is played, the theater fills with a hopeful energy, as Boni’s story still lingers and his suffering and the suffering of the countless others kept under the barbaric act of slavery was not in vain.
Wi na Boni!

Photo credits: Annemieke van der Togt & Roy Beusker




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