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Author Archives

Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years. This blog promises you new stories every week, be they reviews, profiles, news stories or features.

True selves, dervishes and calabashes

DANCE REVIEW: AMAWETHU. THE STRATA OF South Africa choreography run rich and deep and are about education and values as much they are about tradition and magnificence. We have in this country a plentiful culture of dance companies which have stretched their members to take authority on what […]

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Riding dragons

RADIO DRAMA REVIEW: KOUE KAIINGS. ONE THING THAT the mandatory conscription of young men in South Africa during apartheid did was break people literally, and blow them to bits. Another was to break them from the inside out, in a way that the crude eye of rudimentary medical […]

Heroic bravado of a paper lantern

FILM REVIEW: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. THE ROLE OF Blanche du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire has, since 1947 when Tennessee Williams first penned it, become iconic as a reflection of the tawdry vulnerability and bravado of a character losing her moorings, while she pretends to be […]

Death and the dithering husband

RADIO THEATRE REVIEW: DIE HUISBESOEK. WHEN YOU LISTEN to this week’s radio drama on Radio Sonder Grense, you will feel many prickles of lockdown incredulity as a bizarre tale of marital closeness, distance and schizophrenia fills your head. But those prickles have as much to do with a […]

Paean to an African hairdo

FILM REVIEW: THE BARBERSHOP CHRONICLES. WHERE IS IT that African men get to kick back, let their hair down and loosen their tongues? The communal urinal? The local bar? Under the pen of Inua Ellams, it’s the barbershop; South African writers of the ilk of Tony Miyambo, Sue […]

Rich clouds of immortality, trailed

REVIEW: AFRIKAANS RADIO PLAY, MY MENSE. A TALE OF life and death, disappointment and purple pencil crayons, Dot Serfontein’s yarn My Mense (My People) is not about great manoeuvres in socio-political injustice. It is not a big story of major seismic shifts. Rather, something like 19th century French […]

Bloody glasses for sweet milk

FILM REVIEW: MACBETH. OTHERWISE KNOWN AS ‘The Scottish Play’ Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the one tragedy most filled with special effects to make it sizzle with audience accessibility. From witches and ghosts to murderers and phantoms, the work in anyone’s hands has the frisson of sensationalism of any good […]