Dans der Vampieren

When I was in Budapest to see Vampirok Balja I first heard about the plans to stage a Dutch version of Tanz der Vampire in Belgium. That was July 2007. After a false start in 2009 Dans der Vampieren finally made it’s debut at Antwerp’s Stadsschouwburg on September 9th, 2010.

So last weekend I went to Antwerp and saw the show twice. And while it’s not the best version I’ve seen—it’s a smaller production than those I’ve seen in Germany and Vienna, and very close to the one in Budapast—it’s absolutely worth checking out.

Before I had heard anything from the show, my main concern was the translation. For me, it had to be top-notch. I know the story and most of the original German libretto by heart, but I wouldn’t notice it if the words don’t work. That also goes for the Japanese, Hungarian or Polish translations. But when the Dutch words are a mess, I will notice it. After transcribing the single I had good hopes for the rest of the show, and the whole translation seems to be very, very good indeed. There were a few things I couldn’t quite hear or didn’t really like, but no mayor complaints. My biggest issue is probably the translation of Tot zu sein ist komisch (Death is such an odd thing, as it was called in Dance of the Vampires) as “Dood zijn is ironisch” (Being dead is ironic). From the lyrics I didn’t quite get how death would be ironic, but I can’t quite say how I would have done it differently. (Ironically, though, in the program the song is called “Dood zijn is grappig“—being dead is funny.) Hopefully the cast album will include the lyrics.

Speaking of the cast: I hadn’t heard of Hans Peter Janssens before his casting, but I think he was a good Krolock. Maybe his playing lacked a bit of flair, but he certainly has the voice for the part. If you didn’t know that this is the first time that Anne Van Opstal (Sarah) and Niels Jacobs (Alfred) play a leading role in a big production, you’d be none the wiser. The entire cast was quite good, but Sébastien De Smet (Abronsius) deserves a special mention as he sprained his ribs during saturday’s performance.

For me, this was the second time I saw the same show on consecutive nights. When I saw Whistle Down the Wind earlier this year, the first night made the biggest impact. This time it was the other way around. During the saturday show I was being distracted by paying attention to all the little changes, the translation and the lack of space to put my legs in. It was a good performance, but I didn’t seem to be in it. On sunday I just sat back and watched the show. And I enjoyed it quite a bit more than the previous day.

And as always on these Steintrips, the company was excellent.