Albert Mol’s book “Wat zien ik?!” (What’s That I See?!) has been turned into a musical comedy, which premiered on the 11th of October. Ruud de Graaf and Hans Cornelissen’s production takes place in Amsterdam’s red light district in the sixties.
It’s a joy to watch “Wat zien ik?!” and it makes you secretly nostalgic for those days when nothing was really allowed but so many things still took place. Those were also the days of famous bars and clubs such as DOK, and of course Bet van Beeren’s café Het Mandje on Zeedijk.
Blonde Greet (Ellen Pieters) en Haar van Boven (Mariska van Kolk) are captured well as the working girls. Blonde Greet just thinks that men are not to be trusted, but you can make money off of them so every Tom, Dick and Harry can pay her a visit. Haar van Boven (“gal from upstairs”), called Nel, is not all that lucky but she gives the men what they want.
The famous scene with the carpet-beater (“What’s that I see?! Dust?”) is so familiar the audience just loves it. All the other requests of the customers are staged well, so well it makes you wonder if these things still happen nowadays. Johnny Kraaykamp’s double role as Sjaak, Haar van Boven’s pimp and the Bert from the personal ad is just perfect.
The other members of the cast, like Hans Breetveld as Piet, Arie Cupé as an old faggot and last but not least Duck Jetten as Bet van Beeren are also sublime.
Frans Mulder and Allard Blom’s scenario of “Wat zien ik?!” made the production not just funny; they also put the impossible loves of Blonde Greet and Haar van Boven central in the story.
Father Dick and his son Tom Bakker composed the music.
Afterwards the celebrity guests, Ellen Vogel, Jos Brink, Hetty Blok and many others, agreed that it had turned into a fantastic show.
Director Paul van Ewijk joined them in a toast to the production.
“Wat zien ik?!” makes for a wonderful night out, although some knowledge of Dutch is necessary to enjoy the show; you will not easily forget songs like “Vieze Meid” (Dirty Girl) and “In het Café van Bet van Beeren” (In Bet van Beeren’s Pub). These will also be available on cd soon.