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Parting the Red Curtains

"a personality that can clear a room"

Audrey review: Queenie van de Zandt’s alter ego continues to develop in complexity and monstrousness - but she could go further.

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Parting the Red Curtains

Date: 16 May 2019

Microphone issues plagued the Sydney opening of Woy Woy’s Jan van de Stool’s tribute to her own life and career.

It was frustrating for performer and audience. But then again, van de Stool is blessed with the kind of voice that allows her to be heard in a crowd – not to mention a personality that can clear a room.

Queenie van de Zandt’s alter ego continues to develop in complexity and monstrousness. The Netherlands-born, self-described International Musical Therapist  has a new string to her bow: she can channel the voices of the dead.

Backed by projections and punctuated with video clips, Parting the Red Curtains blends elements of variety show (with van de Zandt’s lethal ear for van de Stool’s pitch issues much in evidence) and character comedy that delves into van de Stool’s personal history: growing up on an obscure Dutch island; the clog-related ‘accident’ that led to the development of her unique vocal timbre; her relationship with on-again/off-again partner Pieter.

The most interesting part of the show – van de Stool’s channeling of departed souls – gets relatively short shrift in this hour-long performance.

An expansion of that could feed a fascinating new show entirely, one in which van de Stool’s narcissism and unthinking cruelty might be better exploited and van de Zandt’s dextrousness as a performer showcased.

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