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The 'weird life' of all-rounder Jef Last is not over

Better to die standing than to live kneeling. The statement is fresh in memory after the murder in the Lange Leidse Dwarsstraat, as a mantra in praise of Peter R de Vries, his fearlessness, non-conformism, straightforwardness and honesty. This same statement jumps out even from the first paragraphs of the introduction to the biography of poet Jef Last, written by Rudi Wester.1.... 

Nerd podcast 14: These two reviewers remarkably agree on Catholic theatre, the Holland Festival, ITA and the upcoming summer

We once started this series because we disagree horribly about some things, but in practice things turn out differently. In episode 14 of this fascinating series of insider conversations about theatre and whatnot, we talk about a few Holland Festival performances and look ahead to the festival summer. As it turns out, the... 

You only really experience the magic of an actor when you are there live. 

Sometime in 2022, if you can again, please go to a theatre where you can see 'Sadness is the thing with feathers'. There you can watch and listen to Jesse Mensah's phenomenal talent - if he hasn't won the Song Contest before then - and experience the magic that sticks to Jacob Derwig. Forget, before then... 

Marijn Lems: 'I write for people who don't shy away from the adventurous in art.'

More than 1,500 hours were spent by theatre critic Marijn Lems last year in theatres, in front of TV and, most importantly, with games. That's a lot of time and it raises questions. Questions especially about how you organise your time as a journalist, and how you divide it between watching art for work and what we will call 'normal life'. That's what this podcast is about, for just under three quarters of an hour.

Opinion deputies Culture: 'For Culture, set the navigation a bit more often on Eastern Netherlands!'

The new year often starts with new insights and resolutions. A critical reflection can then help. We were therefore delighted to read the Volkskrant of 2 January, in which columnist and theatre critic Merlijn Kerkhof concludes that in 2020, he wants to enjoy all that the Netherlands has to offer in terms of culture a bit more often outside 020. And that is only right,... 

Why I am suddenly hugely in favour of live music in any theatre performance.

I went to Rotterdam Zuid to see Shakespeare. The play was called Cleopatra and someone had tried to turn it into a feminist manifesto. That is something like making a rhinoceros jump through a hoop: the British bard relates to feminism as Thierry Baudet relates to Greta Thunberg. So it had not succeeded, and the reviewer of... 

In the end, we all go. Why Boukje Schweigman's 'Fall' is irresistible. 

Boukje Schweigman's world is exciting, but never deadly. Whether she makes an experiential performance in a beautiful location during a summer festival, or takes a more artful approach in the plays she makes for theatres: you only see nice people. Even in Val, her latest. In it, we see a lot of nice people falling. Falling deep, sometimes.... 

Petra Gerritsen goes to a concert almost every night off. 'You're with your own group. But how bad is that?'

'I work five nights a week and so I have to find out specifically when I can go to a concert. Sometimes I take time off for it. And then they do say, "hey, are you going to a concert again already?", and I say, "of course I'm going to a concert again". But I don't think it's extreme either.' Petra Gerritsen is process expert 

New York Dance Theatre of Harlem

In New York with two choreographers from the Netherlands. 'So refreshing and unlike anything we have done the last few years.'

Between the buildings, streaks of sunlight invade the endless streets. Yellow taxis accentuate the colourful, vibrant street scene that looks like candy canes. On either side, countless floors and windows rise skyward. On one of those floors on 42nd Street, the Dance Theatre of Harlem is rehearsing the final scenes of Balamouk, a new creation by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Who also... 

So you'll never leave Den Bosch again (why holidays in your own country can be fun)

Would like your interpretation of the cover girl's look on the Theatre Festival Boulevard programme book. It may be projection, but I see a slightly overwhelmed desperation in those eyes, whose eyebrows have been replaced by two playfully placed arches of St John's, above: Den Bosch on my mind. Where to start, mostly. In the book, especially abundance. Glassily designed... 

Art criticism in times of Facebook and Blendle. (A survival guide.)

In a discussion (on facebook, where else) about NRC Handelsblad's departure from Blendle, an editor of that newspaper made very disparaging remarks about a reader who had paid 30 cents for one of his articles. In a recent article on Frankwatching, an expert concluded that investigative journalism could only survive if we started subsidising newspapers.... 

Joris Smit in Tasso, photo Kurt van der Elst

Joris Smit on Tasso and Joan of Arc: no theatre that puts the audience to bed

The National Theatre plays Jeanne d'Arc by Friedrich Schiller and simultaneously retakes Johann Goethe's Tasso. Joris Smit plays in both plays, even the title role in Tasso. We talk to him about German romantics, Sallie Harmsen, the new-fangled National Theatre and the importance of going down on your face. Tasso and Jeanne, Goethe and Schiller. Is German romance... 

Marcel Möring: 'Only in my study do I feel at home'

Writer Marcel Möring got off to a flying start in literature, with his award-winning novels Mendel's Legacy (1990), Het grote verlangen (1992) and In Babylon (1997). But when Dis, the first part of a trilogy, was published in 2006, literary critics made mincemeat of him. The second part Louteringsberg was also mostly poorly received. Today, Dis appears... 

Why I love that the Holland Festival is programming Stockhausen's 'Aus Licht'

Towards the end of the year, we are inundated with lists. The best CDs, the best books, the performances you shouldn't have missed, etcetera. In this sea of choices from reviewers and other opinion makers, one post stands out, from opera critic Olivier Keegel. He started a veritable petition to prevent Karlheinz Stockhausen's 'Aus Licht' from being performed in June 2019,... 

Cooking for Richard III: 'Of course we tie off our sauces with a little blood'

Eating on stage. That's the standard 'Theatre Dinner', but more exciting. Especially if Shakespeare's Richard III is played during dessert. Toneelgroep Oostpool, the Arnhem-based company that has been going strong in recent years with striking performances, goes one step further again in exploring the ultimate audience experience. Sjim Hendrix, not only a cook, but also an artist and... 

Dutch National Ballet - Empire Noir - photo Angela Sterling A0146

Cool Britannia: fine coalition of British choreography talent

Got that. Do I get increasingly impressed during the National Ballet's evening Cool Britannia, turns out it's not that good at all. Because connoisseurs react lukewarmly afterwards. Am I that dumb, or are they that smart? There is actually very little British about Cool Britannia. Except that the choreographers are from there. An obvious... 

#Reinbertbio one year on: biographer looks back

There was once a celebrity (pianist, composer and conductor Reinbert de Leeuw), a biographer (Thea Derks) and a riot. De Leeuw was against the publication of his biography Reinbert de Leeuw: man or melody and made no secret of it. In the TV programme Zomergasten (Summer guests), he even dismissed the dissertation-like standard work as an almost endearing puff piece. Meanwhile... 

Thijs Borsten (left), briefly active as a guitarist, with singer Tania Kross and his regular bassist Xander Buvelot. PHOTO MARIE-JOSE ELDERING

Thijs Borsten breaks through with unique musical concept 'The Challenge'

Thijs Borsten blurs boundaries. Under the slogan 'The Challenge', he puts completely different artists on stage together. After years of struggling, the concept is now being embraced by media and audiences. Thijs has a chance of winning his 6 minutes of fame in DWDD in the near future. Bringing artists from different cultures together and labelling such a thing as a 'challenge';... 

Grindr experiment in Berlin discontinued. Artist meets boundaries 'theatre of experience'

Forty roofless hotel rooms, and then hearing your own story back as you see yourself reflected in the distant ceiling. Or: walking behind a guide through the Lombok district of Utrecht, while being provided with an overload of extra information on your headphones. About your guide. Or not. About yourself. Welcome to the universe of Dries Verhoeven, since a small... 

Proven: theatre-goers seek intellectual satisfaction and hardly ever read reviews

Drama reviews mainly fill a need among artists and journalists. Newspaper readers hardly use them. In London, this has been studied. Only 36 per cent of theatre-goers say they read reviews. Much more value fans place on tips from friends and family. Last Saturday at Amsterdam's De Balie debate centre, there was a discussion between theatre-makers,... 

Debating reviews is pointless. Readers are perfectly capable of judging for themselves.

Art has rapidly become unimportant. Artists have been effectively dismissed by populists as subsidy-addicted scum. Media leaves no opportunity to downplay the consequences of the ensuing cuts. Putin is about to bring a third world war to Europe. In Amsterdam on Saturday, September 6, three of the Netherlands' last daily newspaper critics talk to artists about... 

Is Anne too big for reviews? 3 reasons why I find it hard to review Anne

Someone commented on Facebook that it looked a bit odd for a newspaper to hand out stars for a play based on The Diary of Anne Frank. Although I myself shudder to give out stars this early for a Godwin make, surely there is something to The Play and The Review. Indeed, reviews of The Play to The Diary seem superfluous. For how do you review such a play, with such a history? Isn't fuss about layering or no layering, adventurousness or no adventurousness in the direction even a little irreverent? So these are three issues, which led me to consider that maybe it shouldn't be possible at all. Anne review.

ellen edinoff

Dance pioneer Ellen Edinoff matured the dance world

Dancer Ellen Edinoff died in her hometown of Amsterdam on Tuesday at the age of 70. Together with her husband Koert Stuyf, Ellen formed a unique dance couple in the 1960s-'70s that evoked reactions in extremes. Thanks in part to them, the Dutch dance world came of age. Ellen battled her illness for the last three years. She was still able to make a comeback on stage in 2012.

American Ellen Edinoff met Koert Stuyf in New York. They settled in the Netherlands where they worked on...

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Fewer audiences, but fuller halls for @hollandfestival 2013

69,500 visitors, at least 5,000 fewer than previous editions, but the halls were fuller. With 82% audience occupancy, the Holland Festival organisers are satisfied with the 2013 festival. Whether that higher occupancy rate, apart from the smaller number of performances (14 fewer than last year) is also due to smaller halls, is impossible to find out from here, but the fact that the large Theater Carré, with its many unsellable low-visibility seats, was also hardly used this year will certainly have helped.

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