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2007 Alice in Space- Jazzflits (eng)

Jazzflits 19. December 3 2007

'An improvised space opera' is what composer Marc van Vugt and lyrical poet Ingmar Heytze called their production 'Alice in Space'. They based their story on 'Dimen¬sion of Miracles', a 1966 SF novel by Robert Sheckley. The story line is reasonably simple: Alice Water buffalo-de Vries is highly surprised when she realizes she has won the big prize in an inter-galactic sweepstake. She is taken into space, but has major struggles to come back to Earth. Alice's role is 'played' by singer Ineke van Doorn; the narrator, who provides Alice with her prize, and all creatures that cross her path, are depicted by actor Vincent Wijlhuizen, who represents lyrical poet Heytze during a show in Amsterdam. The beginning of the story is rather slow-paced, with lots of text by both principal characters. It includes an awkward TV news interview with Ineke van Doorn representing herself worrying about people taken into space and at first there’s only very little music, apart from the witty, Star Trek like musical opening pastiche. As the show progresses, Alice’ s journey (obviously a modernized version on Lewis Caroll' s Alice) is starting to take shape, due to the hypnotizing effect of some of the lyrics, the associative video footage of Marcel Brugman, and not in the least, to the relevant music by Marc van Vugt. The latter composer uses the timbre of his Big Bizar Habit musical ensemble and renders strong ostinati ('the law of the jungle') and uneven rhythmic pattern, juxtaposed by a fantasy like solo performance. In 'Alice in the woods', the final piece before the pause, Ineke van Doorn gets to sing a beautiful song that lingers on in our heads for the full length of the break. It works out that Ingmar Heytze's baroque style poetry is perfect when sung, and it never feels awkward that Dutch is the language used. Furthermore, the show has all the effects of the intended humor (such as the explanatory voice-over that emerges throughout the performance and speaks with the strong accent from the Dutch province of Limburg, clearly referring to national space professor Chriet Titulaer, perfectly immitated by Alexan¬der van Bremen). (Herman te Loo)

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