Olympique Dramatique is singing around the tree of knowledge of good and evil

Adams_appels

‘Evil is everywhere. I just go with the flow.’ Says the neo-Nazi to the priest. Sounds like the beginning of a silly joke? Well, Adams appels has a lot of jokes and it sometimes is quite silly, but above all it’s a strange musical about good and evil. And apples, of course.

For Adams appels the Flemish theatre company Olympique Dramatique (linked to Antwerp’s Toneelhuis) turned to the Danish movie Adam’s apples (2005). They took the script of Anders Thomas Jensen (who wrote the scenario for Mifune’s last song and co-wrote Lars von Trier’s recent Antichrist) and adapted it for the stageAlways in for a new challenge the Antwerp-based collective decided to make a musical out of it, and asked Dominique Pauwels (from LOD, a production house from Ghent for music theatre) to write the music.

It tells the story of Adam, a neo-Nazi, arriving in the rather bizarre community of Ivan, a priest, for a reintegration programme. He needs to set himself a goal, Ivan tells him, so a baffled Adam reluctantly decides to bake a cake, with apples from Ivan’s garden. But there’s more to the good priest than meets the eye. Isn’t his war with Satan a little bit strange? And isn’t that thick-headed optimism a bit too weird to be true?

I quite liked the strange mixture of song and dance, of theatre and musical, of the weird and the serious. I liked the fact that in the end Adams appels gradually became more of a play than a musical, thus reflecting Adam’s destruction of Ivan’s world. But I was rather disappointed though by the music. The mix of rhythm-tracks on tape and live-instruments didn’t work out that well. And the soundmix (with the singing voices) could have been a lot better too.

Following the disappointing Kunstminnende heeren, Adams appels proves that the guys from Olympique Dramatique are still able to broaden their scope, while staying true to their style and spirit. It just needs a little fine-tuning.

(photo credit: Koen Broos)

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