Cabaret trio De Vliegende Panters (Dutch for The Flying Panthers) are Rutger de Bekker, Diederik Ebbinge and Remko Vrijdag. Since their debut show Sex, they are one of the most popular live cabaret groups in the Netherlands.
While they were still studying at the Akademie voor de Kleinkunst (the Dutch high school for cabaret), they participated in the 1995 Amsterdams Kleinkunst Festival, one of the biggest events in this part of entertainment in the Netherlands. With their program ‘De Vliegende Panters zijn het beu’ (The Flying Panthers are sick of it), they won the important Wim Sonneveldprijs, named after one of the greatest stars in national cabaret history. De Bekker, Ebbinge and Vrijdag were then signed by Hekwerk Produkties and decided to rebuild their 30 minutes program into an entire show.
Before Sex, Vrijdag was the only member of the group with substantial experience in theatre. He also won the national Pisuisse Prize for most promising theatre student and the Pall Mall Export Prize for his stage actions and his contribution to De Vliegende Panters.
Their debut show Sex (“because it sounds good”) was a huge success. At first glimpse it seems a chaos of sketches and songs. The guys play three boys called Landbouw (Agriculture), Veeteelt (Veterinary) and Visserij (Fishery). They are very sweet and fun at first, but soon the audience meets their sick and sadistic character. The central theme is the death of their friend Tuinbouw (Horticulture), while it becomes more and more obvious that the three are responsible for his horrible end. Well, you shouldn’t play Live Hangman when you’re dyslectic in the first place.
In 1998, De Vliegende Panters introduced their second show Hype, which was equally successful. At the end of 2001, the three produced their own comic television series called ‘Daar Vliegende Panters’, followed by a hit single ‘Houdoe’ (Goodbye in popular speech, mainly in the south of the Netherlands).
The three are excellent imitators, especially in music. Without any visible difficulty, they give away representations of for instance the Bee Gees, ZZ Top, Sepultura or the Beatles. In addition De Vliegende Panters mainly try to shock, with items around incest, Anne Frank, or mentally handicapped. But more than anything this zap-cabaret is extremely hilarious.
They have their own web site at http://www.vliegendepanters.nl.