An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

A Musical Memoir / Comedy • Running Time: 70 mins
Presented by KBT Productions | Written & composed by Jervis Pennington | Vocals: Janine Cupido | Guitar & spoken word: Jervis Pennington
“It’s a hellofa story!....with powerful songwriting.”  - David Kramer at the Cape Town Fringe

“Five Stars”.  The gorgeous Zolani from Freshlyground

“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

“It is uncomfortable, satisfying, brooding, poetic, delightful, mad and uncontained. It is true, and fable, and myth and miracle. It is testimonial, prayer, dog fight, death and drama. All separated out with mesmerizing song, and wickedly sharp, observational humour. It will not be caged or categorized.”  - Megan Furniss: The Week Ender

From famous to homeless to fearless! Jervis is a former MD of EMI’s South African Music label, (where he looked after careers as diverse as Brenda Fassie and Steve Hofmeyr), winner of SABC’s 1983 National Television Talent Show Follow that Star with his group The Soft Shoes and his self-penned hit Elvis Astaire, writer of the musicals Scribble, which was nomination for 5 Naledi Theatre awards and A Town called Fokol-Lutho (amongst others) and more importantly, a talented dog whisperer! In between all this writing activity, Jervis also wrote off a few cars, resulting in a three week coma in one and a severe head injury in another. These conspired to derail him for almost two decades. Now safely back on track, this show tells his story (thus far). And in it Jervis delivers a truly original performance. Since it’s sold out and extended run here in February the show has enjoyed successful outings at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg and The Hilton Arts Festival. He is a superb storyteller, a world class songwriter with a very unusual razor sharp wit. The reviews tell it like it is! So don’t miss it.

“Raw, brutally honest, inspiring and hilarious. The most unusual piece of theatre I have seen. A genuinely class act."  Alexander Theatre on-line review
“This man has a direct blue gaze which mesmerizes the audience with something akin to a challenge, is acerbic comments on life in the Mother City and a calculated contempt of convention adding to the sense of defiance that pervades An Extraordinariy Ordinary Life”. Beverley Brommert: The Cape Argus
“Many people watching you experienced truth and grace.” Rev Alan Storey CMM
“Brilliant Leonard Cohen-esque style folk songs.  Bruce Dennill : Radio Today

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 knew it was 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 boy band The Soft Shoes back in the 80’s 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 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 introduce her to the public and so we premiered the show right here at The Alexander Upstairs in 2015 with me doing the monologues and Janine 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 cool moments of my entire career. Although Janine is better now, she’s raising a child, so it’s still only me! 

Press & Reviews

  • Wed 13th Feb 2019 Weekend Special

    "I don’t know what to write about this one man, true-life, surreal, mystical, achingly funny show, other than I cried from laughter, wept in painful recognition, gasped in wonder and exited into a different universe than the one I arrived from tonight."

    Review of 'An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life' by Megan Furniss

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