Scapino is one of the biggest dance groups of the Netherlands and The Great Bean, the name of this programme and its main piece, is being extended and sold out to full audiences across the country. Its success is due to its great combination of light, music and dance to a cinematic effect this evening.

The Great Bean © Hans Gerritsen
The Great Bean
© Hans Gerritsen

The performance starts off with Blind Spot, a piece by Felix Landerer. Balls of dancers erupt in dance moves that are often acrobatic, with hints of street dance and Crystal Pite-esque moves; groups where one dancer sets the tone for the group dancers behind him. With dark music with heavy staccato beats (Christof Littman), this is a good show-opener with a high pulse.

Fang-Yu Shen's piece Let It Spin is totally different and a nice counterpoint. The music is drums – pumping at times – but the dancers, dressed in short dark browns, dance to soft, mesmerizing music most of the time. I was drawn into the dance through a single guitar at times and then by a solo Chinese voice. Various couples and groups move in close harmonious patterns. A soothing and bright piece.

The Great Bean © Hans Gerritsen
The Great Bean
© Hans Gerritsen

The show-stopper of the evening is The Great Bean, a rollercoaster ride by resident choreographer and artistic leader Ed Wubbe. Set in the roaring twenties to Charleston and tap, Django Reinhardt, Billy Holiday, Count Basie and James Rushing and – as a wonderful counterbalance – Edward Grieg. The calm music by Grieg makes possible the slapstick antics of the dancers in the quick and musically haunted parts of the performance. A group of dancers opens the piece by walking in such a way that one might expect they are either mental cases or doing a subtle audition for Monthy Python's Ministry of Silly Walks. This is followed by a clown, who is undaunted by his utter failure to perform like a magician, to great crowd hilarity. We're plunged into a black-dressed, white-and-black shoed entertainment world of dancers, clowns and jugglers. The two jugglers, Vincent Koller and Joris de Jong, are an excellent and natural addition to a quickly changing performance. There is wonderful solo and group dancing, giving the crowd something new to look at, every couple of minutes. The men move fast in groups doing tap-dancing moves with excellent timing that enhance the showy feel of the evening. The women, wearing different black outfits and finally in black feather dresses, evoke the idea of variety theatre beautifullly.

The Great Bean © Hans Gerritsen
The Great Bean
© Hans Gerritsen

Good dancing is combined with good acting that keeps the audience engrossed in the atmosphere of a twenties entertainment club of downtown Chicago. Solo or duo performances in slower mode containing Bonnie Doets (with the clown that suddenly has become a master magician), Maya Roest and Leslie Humbert work towards a finale where aesthetics take over from the pure fun and entertainment.

But don't be afraid the evening will end on a serious note. The different styles of music and dance keep the pace going right till the end. Ed Wubbe definitely knows how to entertain a crowd.