national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, May 22, 2021


(Pics by Diana du Plooy)

Roxmouth is a consummate performer and knows exactly how to play his audience to give them the best of his humour and piano playing talents. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Sparkles, spangles, elaborate jackets, sequined trousers and incredible shoes (even the piano and the piano stool are covered in shiny material) … and that’s just the beginning.

Add Tina le Roux’s fast-changing glittering and flashing lighting design along with the very good sound design by Jason Bird as well as tracks that are operated by Michael Fullard and integrated into the show as though they are the performer’s personal band and you have the background for none other than the inimitable Jonathan Roxmouth and his show We’re Still Standing.

Good to see Roxmouth back on the Rhumbelow Theatre stage after some time. While most of us here in South Africa have been divorced from the theatre scene since the start of the Covid lockdown, Roxmouth has been touring the world in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, in which he plays the title role.

Not being deterred by someone who said he didn’t have the Elton John style, Roxmouth went ahead to prove that person wrong by creating a hugely enjoyable programme of songs by Elton John.

The Elton John passionate energetic style is all there in numbers such as Crocodile Rock, Honky Cat, Rocket Man, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Daniel and I'm Still Standing. However, Roxmouth wanted to make sure that his audiences got more of the artistic songs that Elton John wrote. Among them is one of his personal favourites, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, which was beautifully sung as was Your Song, Candle in the Wind and the poignant Tiny Dancer.

Roxmouth represents the star’s style perfectly and, amid his amiable chatter between songs, brings to our notice the fact that, while Elton John’s lyrics are excellently written, he doesn’t always articulate the words clearly when he sings the songs. This was confirmed by members of the audience who gave the wrong answer when Roxmouth asked for the words of certain phrases after having played a short clip of Elton John’s own performance!

Another amusing section was when he took the mickey out of classical composers such as Beethoven and put their music in modern times – also having a lot of fun with a send-up of the tune Happy Birthday!

Roxmouth is a consummate performer and knows exactly how to play his audience to give them the best of his humour and piano playing talents. However, amid the humour and fun, he has a message for his audiences: “We are still standing”. Hence the title of the show. We are managing to survive Covid and hopefully will continue to do so. He reminds us all of the things that are important in our lives and gives strong hope for the future.

The show is running at Rhumbelow this weekend but, as expected, the whole run has been sold out. Hopefully he will be back soon! - Caroline Smart