If Jacques Brel were still alive, I believe that he would’ve been Godfrey Johnson’s biggest fan. I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of multi-talented Cape Town performer, Godfrey Johnson’s latest carnation of his one man show, The Shadow of Brel, currently showing at the Kalk Bay Theatre until 9 July.

Back by popular demand, Johnson, directed by Sanjin Muftic, treats audiences to a splendid evening out as he brings the music of universal musical icon, Jacques Brel alive. His voice is powerful and emotional, and one can feel every verse play out in front of one, as he evokes some of Brel’s timeless classics.

Being one of the younger members of the audience, I was unsure that I was going to be able to connect with the material, but Johnson’s subtlety and attention to detail, brought each and every song to life, and made the music accessible and easy to relate to. From the comedic songs to the romantic ones, and more sombre, Johnson managed to capture the spirit of Jacques Brel in every piece he did.

This time round, The Shadow of Brel is divided into two, by an interval; and whilst the first half is strictly Brel, in the second, audiences are given the chance to hear Johnson’s Madonna impersonations, amongst many others. The second half is a “musical jukebox” session, where one can pay anything from R5 to about R20 to have Johnson play a song from a menu of selected songs. Every rand raised from the “jukebox” goes to Pieter Dirk-Uys’ Darling Fund -which feeds and pays school fees for underpriveleged children living in Darling.

I had a fantastic evening out, and whilst lately I have found that some of the productions at the Kalk Bay Theatre have been of a lacking standard, Godfrey Johnson has managed to bring a breath of fresh air and bring back the high standard that we have, in the past, become accustomed to at the Kalk Bay Theatre.

If I could offer you some advice for the next week, it would be to do yourself a favour, and partake in the sheer delight of listening to Godfrey Johnson’s musical talents as they unfold before you on stage in The Shadow of Brel. This show is not to be missed, because who knows when it could be back?

The rest of The Shadow of Brel run shows from Wednesday, 6 July till Saturday, 9 July. Tickets are are a mere R110 (but take a little extra money with for the “musical jukebox”), and the shows start at 8.30pm. Book on 073 220 5430.


To keep up-to-date with Godfrey Johnson’s movements:

> Follow him on Twitter: @GodfreyJohnson

> Catch his updates on his Facebook Page.


Jonathan Duguid (@theDramaKing)

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