ROOS VAN JOU MOND

CAST: Niki Romijn and Erik Robaard

UNTIL: Saturday

RATING: ****

THE LIFE and times of poet Ingrid Jonker gets a different life of sorts in Niki Romijn’s Roos van Jou Mond.

The performance is a tribute show of the original kind, using the poetry as lyrics to create a cohesive, engrossing introduction for some, confirmation for others.

Romijn (pictured) begins with a smokey, jazzy rendition of Onverkrygbaar and builds from there. Drawing on a piano-rich folk style, Romijn provides a soundtrack to a segment of the work of Jonker, painting an aural picture of a tortured soul who said a lot in very few words.

If you didn’t know these were poems to begin with, you would be forgiven for thinking Romijn purpose-wrote the lyrics because the music suits the words to a T.

In between songs Romijn explains her fascination with the poetry and how she came to create this show. She also gives us a potted history of Jonker’s life, which never becomes a lesson, but is informative and interesting nonetheless.

And she does all of this in a mix of English and Dutch (she asked the audience whether she should do this) and sings in Afrikaans.

While the delivery is slick, nothing about Romijn’s performance feels too staged or calculated. She is an engaging performer who is comfortable shooting the breeze, but ultimately is on stage to celebrate the work of a poet she admires greatly.

She has carefully crafted a show in which her personal story about how the poetry has touched her adds to the performance of the pieces.

For all that much of Jonker’s work is quite broody, the show is not depressing in any way, with Romijn giving some of the pieces an upbeat feel; Kabouterliefde, for example, becomes a whimsical ditty.

Erik Robaard’s bass playing is supportive while being unobtrusive, providing an extra aural dimension. Romijn ditches the piano at one point when he takes over the melody (Waterval van Mos en Son), taking it up a gear, then returning to a supporting role.

•Tomorrow at 8pm at De Malle Meul in Philadelphia (021 972 1097); then Thursday at 8.15pm at Klein Libertas Teater in Stellenbosch (021 883 8164); and finally on Saturday at 7.30pm at Villa Pascal in Durbanville (021 975 2566). Visit www.nikiromijn.nl for further details.