by Jayasree Iyer
Rows of black tables line the floor of this small 300 seat theatre in the centre of Amsterdam, the Leidseplein theatre. There is a general air of mirth and the soft sounds of clinking silverware and glasses. The lights go down, the music begins, and the experience continues. People come here to have a good time, eat some good food, and have a cocktail, while being entertained by some of the best actors this side of the Atlantic.
Boom Chicago performs sketch and improvisation comedy every night to packed audiences from all over the Netherlands and the world. They also do private shows at various theaters, festivals and corporate events. Combining excellent theatre style graphics on two flat screens, technologically enhanced backdrops, a musical genius to tantalize your musical senses, and splendid actors, the show becomes a memorable event for the audience. The actors develop a central theme in each show around suggestions given by the audience, while guests eat a tasty dinner (served prior to the show) prepared by Head Chef Dave Cahill and his team. During the show, drink service continues with funky cocktails, margaritas, pitchers of beer, and a great wine list.
Artistic director and one of the three owners of Boom Chicago, Andrew Moskos smilingly adds, “Why can’t a good meal be served in theatres? That’s why we’ve developed a concept that involved a great show, great food, and a great atmosphere, where people can have a great time.”
Andrew was trained in Improvisational theatre in Chicago, after performing in various high school shows. Andrew himself grew up loving the comedy styles from The Simpsons and South Park to Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor. The fame of comedy theatre shot up when shows like “Curb your Enthusiasm”, and “Whose Line is it Anyway” opened international doors.
Boom Chicago holds auditions for actors in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Amsterdam to play in the shows in Amsterdam. The cast of the shows have a wide variety of backgrounds and interests, and thus bring in different flavors to each show. He and the other actors relate perfectly to the characters they play. Andrew shares these wise words of wisdom, “The less you have to ACT, the better”, meaning that the more the character or idea fits in with any of their personalities, or backgrounds, the easier and better they come across. The shows at Boom Chicago follow a basic script central to a simple theme, such an “Environmentalism” in the show called ,”Last one to leave the Planet, Turn off the Lights”. Each time a show is performed, it is constantly developing, and the actors learn from the suggestions that are tossed at them. Hungry to make each show a striking success, the cast and crew of Boom Chicago are continuously changing each show, making each experience unique, and special. The musician and technical/sound and lights manager are vital to each experience.
Why Amsterdam? Andrew confidently elaborates. Amsterdam only had a cabaret scene in the past. Theatres, while present, were closed in certain seasons, and empty in open seasons. In the past few years, lots more seats are being filled, as people are getting more into watching live performances. International acts are thronging to Amsterdam, making it hard to resist Holland as a country famous in live acts, and bringing theatre fame to this small historic city, Amsterdam. There was even a Dutch stand up comedy scene. Combining dining part of theatre was simply a good idea at that time. With a central location in Leidseplein and international appeal of live fun theatre, Boom Chicago is a symbol of the ever changing international community, and an experience not to be missed.
Can be found at Leidseplein 12, 1017 PT Amsterdam.
See www.boomchicago.nl for more details or call 202 423 0101