national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, September 30, 2018


(Godfrey Johnson's image on the poster!)

There’s nothing unhinged about Johnson’s performance – he’s brilliant. (Review by Caroline Smart)

I have to admit that the title of Unhinged and the photograph on the poster saw me attending Godfrey Johnson’s show at Rhumbelow Tina’s in Kloof with some fascination.

What was this highly-acclaimed and excellent performer going to “unhinge”? Himself – or the songs?

It turned out to be the songs – or, rather, some of them. This show is definitely for discerning audiences who will value the quality of the music and appreciate his versatility with accents and characters.

The Johnson vocal passion and piano skills can be seen in numbers such as Tom Lehrer’s Masochism Tango, Noel Coward’s 20th Century Blues, Frank Sinatra’s I Love Paris, Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy and I Don’t Like Mondays by The Boomtown Rats

Then there were a number of songs I was not familiar with but loved every moment of them: The Mariner's Revenge Song by The Decemberists and Small Town Boy – Bronski Beat. Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” was beautiful and sensitively-handled, contrasting with the amusing quick tempo The Pope by Meryn Cadell. He performed a song from the Afrikaans Songbook of Yesteryear as his own number A Modern Man.

The “unhinged” part comes into play when he takes well-known numbers and reworks the lyrics to the audience’s intense amusement, such as Can’t Help Lovin’ that Girl (Man) of Mine.

Johnson maintains there are “15 personalities and 22 confused accents” in the show. Two of these personalities are delightful doddery old women.

The most brilliant number for me was his handling of Cell Block Tango from Chicago – where he takes the testimonies of the female prisoners and uses different accents, including an Oriental one!

Highly articulate, Johnson is master of the comic pause. Seated at the piano, half turning so we can all see his face, he engages continually with his audience. His song moods require him to range from lisping camp to acute sensitivity and gentleness or full-blown power.

Full passion and poignancy was given to audience requests for two Jacques Brel numbers, Marieke and Port of Amsterdam.

With Unhinged, expect the unexpected with familiar songs turned inside-out in a programme that ranges from the gentle to outrageous send-up. There’s nothing unhinged about Johnson’s performance – he’s brilliant.

Unhinged has one more show this afternoon (September 30 at 14h00). The theatre venue opens 90 minutes before show for drinks). Tickets R150 (R130 pensioners) and tables seat six. (No alcohol or food may be brought on to the premises). Tickets are cash or EFT only. Secure parking is available. Booking is through Computicket or contact Roland (also for large group booking discounts of 20 or more) on 082 499 8636 or email: or visit

Tina’s Hotel is situated at 14 Beryldene Road in Kloof. – Caroline Smart