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SONGS OF LOVE AND LIPSTICK (article first published : 2007-05-27)

A theatrical cabaret starring Cape Town based singer/composer/performer, Godfrey Johnson, Songs of Love and Lipstick features brilliant material from the likes of Jacques Brel, Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim as well as original songs by Godfrey Johnson. This all promises an entertainment filled with fun, great songs, a drag queen, fantastic piano playing and a touch of pathos.

Johnson’s alter ego Aletia F Dumont drags herself onto stage and chats about life, love and lipstick. She sings, prances and bitches her way into the hearts of the audience. Johnson, however, tries to avoid her at all costs. A show featuring beautiful and theatrical songs like Brel’s If You go Away, Funeral Tango and the very important and famous Mamma ek wil ‘n man he.

Godfrey Johnson has appeared in many productions over the past 12 years in South Africa, Holland and Canada. He has recently returned to Cape Town after a five year stay in Darling where he worked as artistic director at Evita se Perron.

He performed in Theatre for Africa’s Obie in Revue and Raiders and the Lord of the Dings. He has worked as musical director, actor, singer and composer for film and stage. In 1992 he was commissioned to compose the score for the UCT production of Die Koup Jy which went on to win the award for best production at the ATKV Festival. He has appeared in Bambi Sings the FAK, The Rocky Horror Show as Riff Raff, Noel and Marlene as Noel Coward opposite Pieter-Dirk Uys, The Poggenpoel Sisters and many more.

One-man shows include The Importance of Being Harnessed, Blonde Juan, Trip, Love is Strange and many more. Last year he appeared with Julian Clarey at the Cape Town International Comedy Festival and directed two very successful cabarets. He also appeared in a film, The Bird can Fly starring Barbara Hershey.

Other upcoming shows for Johnson include Kissed by Brel at the Theatre on The Bay and Montecasino later this year and Bambi in Kabaret with Pieter-Dirk Uys at the 2007 Grahamstown Festival.

Songs of Love and Lipstick is directed by Sanjin Muftic. He was eight years old when his parents left behind a life of socialist struggle in Sarajevo, launching in Ethiopia the young man's search for his worldly place and identity.

"When I was in Sarajevo we had to take a pledge to serve our leader. We had to wear a blue hat with the red communist star and a red scarf. When we left, my parents didn't hold on to any political or religious ideals that they enforced on me or my younger sister," he says.

When Muftic was aged 10, Sarajevo was a bloodbath. He was enrolled at an international school in Ethiopia until 18 while his father travelled to various states as a field officer with the UN Refugees Agency. A few years later his father ended up in Pretoria while Muftic studied computers and drama in a small university town of only 6,000 people in Canada. While visiting his father, he often landed in Cape Town and "enjoyed it so I decided to study here".

So he left a job designing websites for a Canadian company because he didn't like the loneliness of the profession and boarded a plane headed to the coastal dorpie that mesmerized him. Since studying at UCT he has pranced around on stage with a shaven head as Polonius in a Hamlet production in 2004. Earlier this year he was an assistant director on Twelfth Night at the Maynardville theatre in Wynberg. He most recently directed the acclaimed The Life and Work of Petrovic Petar.

Songs of Love and Lipstick runs at Rhumbelow Theatre runs on June 5 and 7 at 19h30 and on June 9 at 20h00. Tickets R60. The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner. Take along food picnic baskets and braais will be available. There is limited secure parking and booking is essential. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Theatre is situated in Cunningham Avenue off Bartle Road.

To book contact Roland on 031 205 7602 (h) or 082 499 8636, email roland@stansell.za.net or visit www.rhumbelow.za.net

Godfrey Johnson and Sanjin Muftic also collaborate in Behind Every Man – A Theatrical Cabaret which also runs at Rhumbelow Theatre – see separate article




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