Right. You’re an international investment banker living in New York, and your brother has died.
You go home. Amsterdam. So many memories. Your family. So much baggage.
Sex. And death.
Watching this play, a love song to Amsterdam, an examination of how people handle the impact of death, I found myself admiring the simplistic design: a quarter room in which the protagonist sits, still, silhouetted; the other room, with beautifully reflective windows that sometimes show the snow and allow him to pontificate about what Dutch design has to say about Dutch values. And I slowly but surely found myself being lulled to sleep, a condition against which I fought courageously but not strongly enough.
I didn’t lose the words of this show as I flickered back and forth between consciousness and free association, but I was left as unmoved as the narrator. Death hurts; death is more than tears. Bella Heesom covered it far more emotively in My World Has Exploded a Little Bit and didn’t even need to charge us 35 quid or take her clothes off to get her point across; for Ivo van Hove to do both of these things and yet leave us at the end indifferent to our narrator seems positively criminal both artistically and creatively. The brevity of the piece did not stop other audience members from making their leaps at regaining those few lucky minutes granted to us on earth: I only wished I had joined them.
(This review is for a performance that took place on Saturday, September 5th, 2015. It continues through September 19th.)