In a riveting solo performance, Godfrey Johnson transports the audience back to 20th century Russia. Vaslav Nijinsky, the world famous ballet dancer who was described by some as a ‘curiosity’, was a genius and an enigma at the same time. Suffering from severe mental illnesses, his life was one of pain. Johnson embodies Nijinsky masterfully, and effortlessly transforms from character to character.

The single white cloth as backdrop on which photos of Nijinsky was shown, contributes to the solemn atmosphere. The lighting switched between sombre and vivid at just the right moments.

Johnson is as splendid a pianist as he is an actor. The music moves the audience and conveys perfectly the anguish Nijinsky experiences when he is trapped within himself, and again the exhilaration he experiences when he is on stage.

Although not light entertainment, this piece gives valuable insight into the world of schizophrenia and the tragic life of a genius artist. Lovers of theatre, art and history will be enchanted by this magnificent performance.

Vaslav is on show at The Fugard until November 17, 2019. Book tickets here.

Pictures: Claude Barnardo

Article written by

Anita Froneman