A Cannon Group release of a De
Roje Hel/Added Film production. Produced by Dirk Schreiner. Directed
by Casper Ver.brugge. Screenplay. Verbrugge, Freek de Jonge, based on
"De Bedevaart" (A Dutch Theater Show by de Jonge), camera (color),
Jules V.D. Steenhoven; editor, Ot Lauw; music: WIllem Breuker, Hennie Vrienten; Art di.rector, Hella de Jonge; sound, Piotr Van Dijk. Reviewed
at Toronto Festival of Festivals, Sept. 7,1986. Running time: 87 min.
with: Freek de Jonge, Rosita Tamara, Johnny Van Eijk. Jan Raub. Jugo Van Den Berge, Jelle de Jonge.
- The comedy of Freek de Jonge is certainly an acquired taste, the key
to whether "The PPPerformer" (formerly "The C.-C-Comedian") will cross
over for mainstream audiences. It's a double Dutch treat, irreverent
and acerbic as well as confounding In director Casper Vesbrugge's
("The Manbird") first feature, a young boy asks his circus clown
fa.ther (de Jonge) why he stutters. It's a I-I-long story, says Dad, so
the boy asks if he can make a movie about it. What follows is a
wild, labyrin.thine explanation that includes a fortuneteller, a dream
about a lion, a street comedy, stage work, and circus buffoonery. The
main thrust is de Jonge's stage act, which is frenetic and madcap,
highlighted by a miracle curing of wheelchair-ridden Luke at Lourdes. Verbrugge
juggles the surrealism of de Jonge's recounting his personal history
with his attempt to grasp his own identity. The director has De Jonge
visit a gypsy while casting his past performance life on a backdrop.
De Jonge starts out as a street performer, imitating a U.S. journalist
interviewing a deaf and dumb dictator in a banana republic. He goes on
to become a music hall comic, a circus clown and a touring jester. His
childhood stutter resurfaces along the way. Amid de Jonge's antics there's a sympathetic character who appears vulnerable and searching throughout his searing attacks. The
young boy narrates the film while the director cleverly combines
dreams, religious visions, and performance footage. A few on-stage
bits could become popular rock vid.eo clips themselves, especially one
in which a batallion of perky young maids tidy up de Jonge's room. "The
PPPerformer" is not to everyone's taste, but it's one way to see the
famed Dutch comic's stage piece. Martin Cleaver gets special credit for
translating a Dutch stut.ter into English subtitles. -Devo.