Chantal Janzen brings humour and chemistry to Tarzan
Translated by Ron de Laat and Bill Hillman
Annet de Jong reviewed Tarzan for the newspaper Telegraaf: In her
opinion Chantal Janzen is head and shoulders above everyone in the
cast and she brings humour and chemistry to the production.
AMSTERDAM - And a circus it was, at the opening show of 'Tarzan' at
the Circustheater in Scheveningen. Rarely are so much aerial acrobatics
featured in a musical where the actors zoom and whiz on vines, literally
past your ears.
This show doesn't fail in the offering of spectacular stunts, and opens
solidly with a beautifully designed shipwreck on the coast of Africa.
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the story Tarzan of the Apes in 1912
and since then lots of novels, comics and films have appeared about the
orphan who was adopted by an ape tribe and developed into an apeman. The
musical is based on the Disney-animation film from 1999, for which Phil
Collins wrote the music.
The classic songs of Collins form the solid base for the musical
'Tarzan'. The swinging pop songs like 'Mensenkind' (Son of Man), and romantic
songs like 'Jij woont in mijn hart' (You'll be in my heart) and 'Verloren
Verleden' (Everything that I am) are rock solid. And ex-Idol Ron Link,
who makes his first musical appearance with Tarzan, has that good pop sound
that is so important to Collins. He has a clear and strong voice, straightforward,
without musical buffoonery. It's not easy to sing while making a forward
roll, a backflip and handstands.
Ron Link is a goodlooking Tarzan with a good physique and is strong
and tender at the same time. He comes across as a very appealing apeman
who wins the hearts of the audience immediately. Of course the audience
is well prepared for his entrance by the previous touching performance
of the young Tarzan, Tim Koper, a lean and limber kid. But the real genius
in this visually attractive show is Chantal Janzen, who plays the very
decent British [sic] Jane Porter, who falls for the savage attractive
apeman. Regretfully for the rest of the cast, Janzen stands out above everyone.
She knows how to present the jokes of the translator Martine Bijl and immediately
brings humour and chemistry into the show.
Although the entrance of Chantal Janzen and Ron Link lacks some
chemistry, Chaira Borderslee makes up for it with her powerful role as
Kala the mother ape. Jeroen Phaff, as the leader of the ape tribe, only
has one morose expression and Clayton Peroti, who is dynamic as the precocious
ape Tark, doesn't always sing audibly.
But... these remarks barely create a taint on this musical which is
rich in every way -- a physical tour de force with beautiful sets, attractive
choreography and two convincing leading actors.
The experienced musical translator Martine Bijl has created a playfully
loose translation with lighthearted jokes. In contrast to the free-flowing
spoken text, however, the song lyrics are sometimes stiff and not always
as strong as the original versions. For example, the translation of the
Tarzan song 'You'll be in my heart' (winner of an Academic Award and a
Golden Globe for best song in the USA) the "we against the rest of the
world" sense is lost.
On Broadway, where the opening show of the musical took place last May,
the audience had not really warmed to Collins' tour de force. Therefore
the Dutch version was adjusted drastically, especially the role of Jane.
And this was a extremely good idea.