Student - November 10, 2012

Roomservice with a smile

Ten acts - from singers and bands to stand-up comics – were on offer on Thursday night in student rooms around Wageningen town centre. Resource reporter Jeroen was there to savour the atmosphere.

Seated on a ledge in front of the window, singer-songwriter Felix van Cleeff accompanies his songs with gentle strumming on his Spanish guitar. His passionate delivery - sometimes a soft whisper, then swelling with anguish - perfectly fits the narrative songs about a stormy love life and a quest to find himself. I'm sitting with about 30 others in a packed room on the top floor of Casa Cranca student house in the Hoogstraat. The cosy room, with its creaking wooden floor and wooden beams, has been filled for the occasion with old sofas and chairs, seated on which we are all listening with bated breath to Felix's mysterious sounds. This is my first performance this year as part of Roomservice, the theatre festival organized every year by Studium Generale, in which you can enjoy a range of theatrical acts in the unusual venue of a student room.
After this impressive performance I head off to the Heerenstraat for a performance by the popjazz band Ape Not Mice (the name refers to an old-fashioned Dutch method of teaching children to read).  The exuberant, imaginative songs performed by Diede Claesen, supported by a percussionist and a keyboard player, are very different to Felix van Cleeff's introspective music. The radiant lead singer dances, establishes a rapport with the audience and soon has all of us in the kitchen of the Heerenstraat student house singing along and snapping our fingers in time.
Back to Casa Cranca for the last show of the evening. Something completely different this time: in one of the other rooms in the house, American stand-up comedian Tim Ward does his thing. He does not shy away from all the clich├ęs about Dutch culture; his show revolves around sending up things like the doubtful quality of Dutch cuisine, and weird and wonderful Dutch idioms. They are familiar jokes but somehow or other they work surprisingly well in the intimate setting of a student room. After a hilarious performance, Tim rushes offstage to catch the last 88 bus - stand-up comedians are just like the rest of us. And that is the end of Roomservice 2012. Very satisfied, the audience leaves the last student room, no doubt - just like me -already looking forward to the next edition.