“It was a party,” says Fimme about the journey that led him to the night he won the Groningen Student Cabaret Festival.
The jury of the 37th Groningen Student Cabaret Festival was strict, according to the opinion Fimme Bakker. “A tough judgement,” he says about the report in which the jury ultimately declared him the winner. Fimme, who graduated from the King’s Theater Academy last year, liked being a director Audrey Bolder was there from the beginning until the final on November 17. “If only as a stick behind the door,” he laughs. Tryouts, rehearsals, weeks of work. “Audrey brought the potential out of me.”
The Groningen Student Cabaret Festival is a competition for young cabaret talent. It is a springboard to the major cabaret stages and it is one of four important cabaret festivals in the country (the organization is in the hands of Groningen students).
As always, there were three finalists and three prizes on the final night
Over the past 37 years, many people who have become an indispensable part of Dutch cabaret have appeared on the stage of the Groninger Stadsschouwburg: Jochem Myjer, Theo Maassen, Johan Goossens (this year a member of the jury), Martijn Koning and Andries Tunru.
As always, there were three prizes to be awarded on the final evening: the jury prize, the audience prize and the personality prize. The professional jury awards the most important prize to the person who puts on the best performance of the evening. The personality prize (in the form of a mirror) is the prize for an exceptional talent who has a lot of growth potential. Also not unimportant is the opinion of the audience, who can tear a ticket from the program booklet during the break, with which everyone can cast their vote.
Luuk sings about white, straight men who want to appear vulnerable with songs about misery
This year Fimme Bakker (28) will win the jury prize, the personality prize is a prey for Warre Verlinden and the audience award is, quite a surprise, for the semi-finalist Joel Gideon.
René van Meurs (who once made it to the semi-finals) warms up the audience, after which Luuk Weggemans the rush hour can begin. With satire and self-mockery he manages to create a comic parody of the cabaret genre. For example, Luuk starts his first song small and serious, but then he suddenly switches to a cheerful, up-tempo rhythm. He sings about white, straight men who want to appear vulnerable with songs about misery and then ‘understand it better themselves’. Ultimately, Luuk concludes that he is not a real man, because real men do not start the air fryer while stoned only to find out that a kiwi comes out tastier.
Warre emphasizes his apparent innocence by moving clumsily
The only 19-year-old Belgian Warre Verlinden immediately gets laughs by starting his show with a song in which he sings about being a child and eating ice cream. The song is peppered with random facts about a wide variety of topics. He emphasizes his apparent innocence by moving clumsily. He then enters into a dialogue with a lady from the audience, in which he asks in a bawdy manner about a daughter, whether it exists or not. Then he starts another innocent song. It is just as clumsy as at the beginning of the performance, but for the audience he has lost his innocence. He wishes everyone to remain a child forever. ‘Because everyone likes to eat ice cream, in different flavors.’
Fimme and Jeff buy a black suit in the Kalverstraat, according to the leader of the living group they will often need it
Fimme, the last finalist, talks about his return to the Netherlands after kicking the habit in a clinic in Thailand. He is going to live together with seven housemates (who are all just clean themselves) in one safehouse. When the leader of the living group says that ‘it is never too late to become who you always could have been’, Fimme thinks that is nonsense. His gaze meets Jeff’s eyes and he reads the same thing: what nonsense. Immediately he knows they will become best friends.
Together they buy a black suit in the Kalverstraat. According to the leader of the residential group, they will often be needed for friends who will relapse and die of an overdose. Jeff and Fimme promise each other that they won’t need that black suit for each other. “We’re not going to back down anyway.” Fimme talks about his friendship with Jeff, interspersed with quick and pointed jokes about drugs and commercials. For example, he can only hear the McDonald’s advertising tune as ‘pa-da-pa-pa-pa, you are kenkerfat’.
Doubter Warre is visibly affected by winning the personality prize
Fimme is vulnerable behind the wing. In two songs he expresses loneliness and despair. He sings movingly about addiction. It goes on and on is the last line he repeats and repeats and repeats at the end of the song. It goes on and on… Then he abruptly stops singing and assures the audience. “I’m doing fine now, you know.”
Warre is visibly affected by winning the personality prize. He says that he is a huge doubter and that he is very grateful for the people who have supported him. He ends his speech with a quote from Walt Disney, by whom he was inspired: ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.‘Impressive. But the room was not as quiet all evening as it was during Fimme’s speech. It was a party, he says. He thanks his friend Jeff and his mother. And he is sincerely grateful to the public for allowing him to tell his story. Applause.