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Saturday, September 26, 2015


(Craig Morris. Pic by CuePix/Kate Janse van Rensburg)

(Review from the Hilton Arts Festival from Keith Millar)

Greig Coetzee’s unique one man production, Johnny Boskak Is Feeling Funny, was a smash hit when it first appeared on stage over 10 years ago. It went on to win a host of awards both locally and abroad for Coetzee – both as a performer and as a playwright.

So it would take a brave artist to restage such a production and attempt to match the standard set by Coetzee.

Well, that is exactly what the impressive Craig Morris has done. As an indication of the success of his interpretation of the production is the fact that he managed to win a coveted Gold Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. One of only two awarded this year.

This excellent production was a very welcome addition to the programme at the recent Hilton Arts Festival.

The story of Johnny Boskak is told entirely in rhyming couplets – a sort of fusion of colloquial South African language and rap style verse. It is masterful and sustained writing by the gifted playwright.

Anti-hero Johnny is a working class South African white man who, having fought in the border war during the apartheid era, is finding it difficult to work out how he fits into the new democratic dispensation. 

He sets out on a road trip which takes him from Durban via Escourt to Secunda. There he meets Eve and together they travel the back roads of the country chased by her his truck.

Craig Morris, alone on a stage adorned only with a section of Armco barrier, puts in a dazzling, very physical and intense performance as Johnny Boskak.His articulate delivery of the rhyming narrative is faultless and superbly timed.

The production is further enhanced by a soundtrack of the music of the late Durban guitar wizard, Syd Kitchen. Direction of the production is by Roslyn Wood-Morris.

Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny is a dark, hard-hitting tragi-comedy with a brilliant script and a noteworthy acting performance. Well worth seeing if the opportunity should arise. - Keith Millar