A hit musical memoir, Jervis Pennington’s An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life, comes to The Market’s Barney Simon Theatre from June 26 to July 14. One-man theatre at its intimate best: hot on the heels from its recent sold-out and extended season in Cape Town, this brutal, brave yet hilarious show marks a return to the Barney Simon for Jervis, not only as a writer but also as a performer, singing and dancing (sort of!) on stage for the first time since the early eighties.
Some may remember his musical Scribble which enjoyed six successful seasons around the country, including one right here at The Barney Simon where it was part of a season celebrating ten years of democracy. It was renamed Who Really Freed Nelson? for that special production, which starred Desmond Dube and was nominated for a record 5 Naledi Theatre Awards including Best Musical and Best Music Score.
Some may also remember Jervis as a former teen idol and winner of SABC’s 1983 National TV Talent Show Follow That Star with his boy band The Soft Shoes and their No 1. song Elvis Astaire, writer of the musicals Scribble and A Town called Fokol-Lutho, and former MD of EMI’s SA Music Company where he looked after artists as diverse as Brenda Fassie and Steve Hofmeyr.
This new production of An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life is produced by Authentik Productions in association with The Market Theatre. It is a personal narrative, philosophy and social satire all conspiring to form a diverting amalgam in which Jervis delivers a truly and unusually original performance. He is a world-class songwriter and a superb storyteller with razor-sharp wit. Don’t miss this show… from famous to homeless to fearless! The reviews tell it like it is…
“The show is uncomfortable, satisfying, brooding, poetic, delightful, mad and uncontained. It is true, and fable, and myth and miracle. It is a testimonial, prayer, dog fight, death and drama. All separated out with a mesmerizing song and wickedly sharp observational humour. It will not be caged or categorised.”
Megan Furniss: Weekend Special
“It’s a hell of a story … with powerful songwriting.”
David Kramer at The Cape Town Fringe
“Emotionally overwhelming. It is a poignant, inspiring, uplifting, harrowing yet ultimately beautiful and darkly hilarious piece of theatre. Jervis should be in stand-up comedy!”
Robyn Cohen: The Cape Times
“This man has a direct blue gaze which mesmerises the audience with something akin to a challenge, his acerbic comments on life in the Mother City and a calculated contempt of convention adding to the sense of defiance that pervades An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life.”
Beverley Brommert: The Cape Argus
“5 stars!” The gorgeous Zolani from Freshlyground
“Raw, brutally honest, inspiring and hilarious. The most unusual piece of theatre I have seen. A genuinely class act!” Alexander Theatre on-line review
A word from Jervis Pennington: WHY THE SHOW WAS
“Well, certainly not because I think my story is so fascinating it needs to go on public display! It happened without there ever having been a specific decision to make it happen. My father once asked me where do I think my songs come from? Well, I just make them up, don’t I? I had a feeling it was going to be the wrong answer. Well, I hope not, he responded, that would give them no soul! (and this from a man who was all soul) He then went on to explain that good writers don’t make things up, they put them down! From within. On examination, I realized, of course, he was right. The first song I ever wrote in earnest was called Elvis Astaire (the King of Swing) about a kid who dreamed of singing like Elvis Presley and dancing like Fred Astaire. Er, hello…that’s me! It went on to launch the career of my Motown wannabe group The Soft Shoes back in the ’80s and reached No 1. on several radio stations (I’m just saying, ne!) My other songs weren’t so obvious, so I had to dig deeper. I took a random one and wrote a short monologue that seemed to suggest what had happened in my life to incubate that lyric and then went off to perform monologue followed by a song for my Dad. He laughed happily! I was a bit put out…I had had no idea up until that moment that either I or my life, was so amusing! More he said, do another one. This time he cried… happily! And before I knew it, I had a little unplanned show. I still had no desire to put it on the stage, but a few years ago I was working with a wonderful singer called Janine Cupido with whom I’m still hoping to record an album (me writing and producing, she singing) and I thought this show might be a good way to show her off to the public and so we introduced the show right here at The Alexander Upstairs with me doing the monologues and she doing the singing. She was amazing! We then did it at The Cape Town Fringe from where we were booked for a private show in a wine farm cellar. At the last moment, she fell ill and so I had to do the show by myself. There were sixty people all drinking too much expensive wine and not really paying attention, but then… during the second song, the local farm mutt came wandering in from the cold and wet outside, strolled down the aisle looking disdainfully both left and right, had a good get-rid-of-the-rain shake and then settled down right in front of me with a long now-this-is-the-life sigh. There he remained until the very end. It was just the coolest moment of all the cool moments. Although Janine is better now, she’s raising a child, so it’s still only me!”
An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life runs at the Barney Simon, Market Theatre for three weeks only from 26 June to 14 July 2018, at 20:00 nightly and matinees on Sundays at 15:00. Ticket prices are R90 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), R150 (Friday, Saturday) and R130 for the matinees (Sunday).
Booking is now open at Webtickets on 086 111 0005, online at www.webtickets.co.za or from selected Pick n Pay stores.
For further media enquiries please contact Nic Leonidas on email@example.com or 061 836 5072.
011 832 1641
The Market Theatre Foundation