Jervis Pennington is probably still best known as the lead singer, choreographer and songwriter for the successful pop group The Soft Shoes. This group won the National Television Talent Show Follow that Star, the 80’s equivalent of SA’s Got Talent, Idols. They toured the country from Swakopmund to Saldanha several times and sold 100,000 records. Their breakout hit Elvis Astaire (the King of Swing) written by Jervis has been featured on a dozen SA Music compilation albums.
“It’s a hellofa story!….with powerful songwriting.” David Kramer at Cape Town The 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
“Raw, brutally honest, inspiring and hilarious. The most unusual piece of theatre I have seen. A genuinely class act!” Alexander Upstairs on-line review
“Many people watching you experienced truth and grace.” Rev. Alan Storey CMM
“Brilliant Leonard Cohen-esque style folk songs!” Bruce Dennill. Radio Today
“5 Stars “ Zolani from Freshlyground
“This man has a direct blue gaze which mesmerizes 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
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. An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life is Jervis Pennington’s mostly all true story of how he went from ‘famous to homeless to fearless’, with beautifully penned songs, whimsical musings, bitter laughs, deals with God (who he calls by his other name Love, the name which he casually states he prefers, as does God himself, he suspects!) and some hilarious and to the bone observations of life in this city, this country, this strange old spinning orb. A wooden bench is centre stage and it is the focus to the piece. Jervis appears and it looks more like 50 rather than the 40 years which have passed since he was a clean cut teen Idol breaking young girls hearts. Both hands are bandaged, a street fighter who lost his last round. Then in rambling but endearing style, Jervis tells us his story all separated out with mesmerising song and wickedly sharp observational humour.
When he talks or sings about love, it is as beautiful as it is mundane and debilitating. When he talks (without a shred of self-pity) about what the shrink said after his head-on car crash where he had half his brain scrambled (“Or was that fried, he smiles, I get so confused!”) the shock of who is sitting on the bench hits home like its own blunt force trauma. When he talks about music it is a love affair that still ignites.
‘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. www.Week-end Special.co.za