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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.

Love and the edge of doom

REVIEW: AFRIKAANS RADIO DRAMA: GENADE. WHAT DOES IT mean to tell someone you love them? Is it a silly, easy cliché; does it mean you promise to love them, come what may, and do whatever you can to preserve that love, that life? Or does it mean you […]

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The cardinal who couldn’t.

REVIEW: AFRIKAANS RADIO DRAMA: DIE HEKS THE 15TH CENTURY and its misogyny in Europe is legend. Iconic Afrikaans writer C Louis Leipoldt takes on the mantle worn by Umberto Eco, John Whiting and Arthur Miller in their contemplation of the phenomenon of witch burning, in a magnificent piece […]

More beautiful than a summer’s day

THEATRE REVIEW: ROMEO AND JULIET. THERE IS SOMETHING eminently satisfying and comforting in this world, where everything is off kilter, of knowing that certain traditions are being upheld with a great sense of fierceness. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London has, in its wisdom and generosity, established a free […]

Little girl with the face of an adult

REVIEW: AFRIKAANS RADIO DRAMA: DIE SWERFJARE VAN POPPIE NONGENA. THE POTENT TREASURE of the complicated situation of standing still in a place where history is in the making, turning and swirling on itself and all that it may mean to future generations feels particularly prescient in this age […]

How to strip down stereotypes

SONG REVIEW: UGLY. The goosebumps start with the first few lyrics. They don’t stop. Yahto Kraft may be just 18, but he has the sensibility, the cojones and the focus to take on the flaccid stereotypes of this world with complete clarity. And win. His debut single, Ugly, […]

The meaning of treasure. And cheese.

THEATRE REVIEW: TREASURE ISLAND. PATSY FERRAN IS a Spanish-born actor, who at the time of the stage debut of the National Theatre’s Treasure Island was in her early 20s. The enormity of her presence, the wit and poetry of the manner in which she articulates and inhabits the […]

A waitress’s lament

AFRIKAANS RADIO THEATRE REVIEW: SJARRAP EN EET JOU KOS! IF YOU DIDN’T hear Radio Sonder Grense’s delightful Afrikaans-radio drama offering a contemplation on the vagaries of being a waiter, a couple of years ago, or even if you did, there’s a treat awaiting you this Thursday evening. The […]

No place like home

BOOK REVIEW: I WANT TO GO HOME FOREVER. WHAT IS A story? Knock on the scholarship of Carl Gustav Jung and you’ll discover that there are basically seven narrative plots in the world.  Look at the ongoing repertoire of some children’s theatres and you may believe that there […]

The rise and fall of Ms Eyre

THEATRE REVIEW: JANE EYRE. IF YOU’VE REACHED the point of misremembering the magic of theatre, having not seen anything live and outstanding since lockdown was declared a couple of weeks ago, look no further. Sally Cookson’s whopping three hour long production of Charlotte Brontë’s great 1847 classic Jane […]

Gossip and its discontents in Golgotha

AFRIKAANS RADIO DRAMA: DIE LËE GRAF SOMETHING RATHER EXTRAORDINARY happens to the New Testament narrative around the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ under the pen of Helena Hugo and in an Afrikaans radio drama. Die Lëe Graf tells the story of Easter from the perspective of Nicodemus […]