Jacques d’Ancona: ‘Huub van der Lubbe brings too little to the demanding musical De Man van la Mancha’ | review ★★★★☆

According to Jacques d’Ancona, Huub van der Lubbe does not bring enough as an actor to the musical ‘De Man van La Mancha’ (now showing in MartiniPlaza). His singing technique also leaves much to be desired in this fascinating and demanding performance.

What do you want? Back to 1605? Then Miguel de Cervantes wrote a book that made world history. Or it is useful to remember that the musical Man of La Mancha started on Broadway in 1965? We couldn’t avoid it in our country.

Since 1968 we saw three performances. However, always in a new version, because every director puts his heart, soul, inspiration and vision into it. Ruut Weissman too. He is not on stage, but is the star of the performance, precisely because of the sobriety of his approach. Never before has the story been told so clearly.

In the Netherlands we experienced the first performance in 1968, starring Guus Hermus, Lex Goudsmit and Carry Tefsen. In 1993 Ramses Shaffy performed the character Don Quixote with the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Unforgettably strong in the approach to playing and singing. Then, in 2008, we saw Peter Faber in that role. A disaster. Faber was completely confused. The ensemble got in his way and he was not up to it vocally. The hit The impossible dream he sang completely to pieces.

Moron who is seriously confused

Weissman has courage and he does not ignore the questions about Don Quixote. There are quite a few. This man prefers to be portrayed as an idealist who generously strives for a better world. But in the fight against injustice he does not avoid violence. Under the stirring sounds of flamenco and the click-clack of furious heels, ‘people’ find something of that.

We are in Spain four hundred years ago. Remember, the Inquisition monitored people mercilessly. They threw the poet behind bars among ordinary thieves and murderers.

He is accused of heresy, defrauds the tax authorities, is a fantasist on the verge of insanity, a fool who is seriously confused. In addition, he suffers from laughable vanity. In essence, he is the double character of the writer and the knight-errant with his windmill complex. A man with a sincere belief in giants and bewitched kings…

Well, and then his eternal bullshit about knighthood. He is not a knight at all, although he meets an innkeeper (nice role by Stefan Rokebrand as a pseudo castle lord) who is kind enough to take up the sword. Viggo Waas, originally a comedian, will take that position from this week.

Even his tireless and understanding assistant Sancho Panza cannot convince Don Quixote that he is doing something wrong. Perhaps it is known that Panza is traditionally portrayed as the cliché type of a stupid country bumpkin on a donkey. In Dragon Bakema’s sparkling creation, he is a smart, always optimistic advisor with a tendency to present tidbits of wisdom.

Interesting and demanding

He is one of the supporters of a performance that is played for almost two hours (unfortunately) without an intermission. A fascinating experience, nonetheless. Which has everything to do with the intensity that a close-knit club of twenty professionals creates.

The Man of La Mancha is interesting and demanding in terms of drama and vocal assignment. No problem for Lucretia van der Vloot. The street whore Aldonza – the madly in love Quixote calls her Dulcinea – is not only stunning and disarming. She gives the character a glowing solidity. Firm and principled, without getting bogged down in sentiment.

Ruth Sahertian is good in a double role, and what Doris Baaten achieves through three different characters is of class. Her performance as a hairdresser provides a welcome, hilarious relief. Marissa van Eyle will replace her.

Inadequate singing technique

Huub van der Lubbe (70) provided the song lyrics. Original and allure. It has been his profession since the iron years with the formation De Dijk, where he was also the leading lead singer. In an interview he said that he is more interested in musical theater than musicals. Apparently he has the misunderstanding that the musical phenomenon is based exclusively on fake glamour.

Anyway, he doesn’t bring enough as an actor to the leading role of Quixote, despite his performances in films. His singing technique is also inadequate for this genre. In some scenes he is an excellent storyteller.


Event musical The Man of La Mancha by Wasserman, Leigh and Daron after the book by Cervantes By means of Theater Alliance Of Huub van der Lubbe, Dragan Bakema, Lucretia van der Vloot, Stefan Rokebrand, Doris Baaten, Ruth Sahertian, Mees Hilhorst, Danny Houtkoper, ensemble and orchestra Direction Ruut Weissman Choreography Pim Veulings Translation of song lyrics Van der Lubbe Scenography Marloes and Wikke Seen 17/2 Groningen, Martiniplaza Audience 450 Still to see: until March 3