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Saturday, June 8, 2019


(Godfrey Johnson & Nicholas McDiarmid. Pic courtesy of Sharon Watters)

An eclectic mix which certainly kept their audience in stiches - and thoroughly entertained. (Review by Keith Millar)

Godfrey Johnson from Cape Town is a seasoned cabaret star and actor. He has appeared on the stages of the Rhumbelow Theatres on many occasions.

Most recently, he was seen in his intense and rather dark one hander, Vaslav, which explored the slide of ballet dancer, Nijinsky, into insanity.

However, it is in the field of music reviews, which often include a large dollop of comedy in the form of parody songs and whacky lyrics, that he is better known. 

Essentially, his latest production Pianomania which is enjoying a brief season at the Rhumbelow Theatre Durban is very much more of the same.

Only this time he has a partner in crime in the person of pianist and entertainer Nicholas McDiarmid.

The two performers sit at baby grand pianos (one black and one white) on the compact Rhumbelow stage and, with the minimum of prattle, run through a gamut of items which includes some creative piano playing, outright comedy and a few serious moments. An eclectic mix which certainly kept their audience in stiches - and thoroughly entertained.

(Nicholas McDiarmid & Godfrey Johnson. Pic courtesy of Sharon Watters)

The show starts with a parody of Gloria Gaynor’s I will Survive which included a mish-mash of snippets of classical music. Keeping the madcap comedy going in the first half is a song called The Pope as well as Shattered Illusions and Masculine and Feminine.

Also part of the first half was an 80’s melody which included Jimmy Somerville’s Turn Away Run Away, Soft Cell’s Tainted Love and I Don’t Like Mondays by the Boom Town Rats. There was also acceptable versions of Elton John’s Your Song, Billy Joel’s Piano Man and the classic My Funny Valentine.

Kicking off the second half is a piano mash-up of Richard Clayderman’s Ballade for Adeline with various snippets of TV themes, nursery rhymes and classical pieces.

Also providing laughs is McDiarmid’s rather gross Coughing Song and the hilarious Avos and Boiled Eggs – performed opera style – as well as a very funny spoof of the Cell Block Tango from Chicago.

On the serious side, Godfrey Johnson shows off his chops with a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat and a very dramatic version of Jacques Brel’s Carousel.

The show is brought to a close with the ultimate sing-along song, Mary Hopkins’ Those Were The Days’.

Pianomania is an enjoyable romp of a show which provides a relaxed, laid-back evening out.

It is a bit rough around the edges and would improve with a bit of tightening up.

There are two performances of Pianomania remaining. Today’s (Saturday) show is sold out and on Sunday June 9, it is on at 14h00. Venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic lunch

Tickets R150 (R130 pensioners, students with a valid student card and tables of eight or more). Family Pack Pricing (R300 for two adults and two children free). Booking is essential. Take along food picnic baskets. Braais will be available. There is limited secure parking. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Durban is situated at 42 Cunningham Road off Bartle Road in Umbilo.

Booking is through Computicket or contact Roland on 082 499 8636, email (also for group booking discounts of 20 or more) or visit - Keith Millar