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Jonathan Roxmouth's "Key Change - My Favourite Pianists" is not to be missed

The morning after watching Jonathan Roxmouth on stage at Pieter Toerien's Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town, supported by a five-piece band and accomplished production team, I'm still reliving every moment. I used to get that kind of high after my dance cabaret performances. I can only describe it as a heady mix of adrenalin, backstage drama, onstage hype and desperate hope that I'd be able to improvise if the choreography eluded me as it so often did when I got carried away.
Image by Jaco Botha
Image by Jaco Botha

Roxmouth does not miss a beat as he delivers a virtuoso performance enhanced by a witty script and brilliant comedic timing, something he uses to his advantage when a front-row audience member decides to use the stage as a drinks table!

I’ve always been a massive fan of Roxmouth’s vocal talent – his duet as Tony opposite Lucille Kenned as Maria in West Side Story’s balcony scene had me in tears, and I still remember it vividly. But I’ve never been this close to his finger-, foot- and elbow work on an extravagantly decorated Yamaha grand piano. My fourth-row vantage point gave me the perfect angle from which to admire his exceptional skill and mastery of this instrument.

The award-winning South African actor, singer and pianist, known for his powerful vocals and dynamic stage presence, brings a unique blend of energy, intensity and emotion to his performances. The audience sat transfixed throughout, many of us smiling broadly for the duration, clapping enthusiastically whenever the opportunity arose and jumping into ovation mode, “peaking too soon”, as Roxmouth pointed out.

Image by Jaco Botha
Image by Jaco Botha

“Key Change – My Favourite Pianists” is a highly personal showcase of piano-based entertainment that has influenced his musical taste through various phases of his life. The programme includes intricate medleys of familiar hits, using just a few bars from each to coax out a theme linked by carefully selected lyrics.

Roxmouth’s performance style is characterised by his skilful playing and ability to capture the mood and emotion of the music. He has a reputation for being able to create a wide range of sounds and styles, from delicate and introspective to bombastic and virtuosic. Whether in classical, pop or musical theatre, it’s no wonder that he captivates audiences with his engaging energy, natural charisma and stage presence, and intricate and challenging piano solos.

After completing his “university years” performing in Barnyard Theatre productions, Roxmouth made his professional debut as Buddy Holly in the South African “The Buddy Holly Story” production in 2007. Still, his role as Joseph in the South African production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” three years later earned him critical acclaim and multiple award nominations. He has performed in several other notable musicals.

Image by Jaco Botha
Image by Jaco Botha

As a concert artist, Roxmouth has performed in venues such as the Sydney Opera House, the London Palladium, and Carnegie Hall in New York City. He has also released several albums showcasing his talent as a singer and pianist. He is arguably best known for his leading role in the South African production of “The Phantom of the Opera”, which he went on to perform in several shows, including the 2015 world tour.

“Key Change – My Favourite Pianists” is on until 8 April 2023. The two-hour programme with a 20-minute interval wraps up too quickly for ardent fans clamouring for more. Kudos to band members Kelsey Brookes (Keys 2), Cole Matthews (Bass), Beric Symes (Guitar), Jarryd West (Drums) and Jessica West (Keys 1) for their accompaniment and evident delight at Roxmouth’s antics, chuckling away as though hearing the script for the first time.

About Debbie Hathway

Debbie Hathway is an award-winning writer, with a special interest in luxury lifestyle (watches, jewellery, travel) and the arts.

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