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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.

Evita’s no woman. She’s a legend.

THE QUEEN IS dead. Long live the queen. So begins Pieter-Dirk Uys’s current foray into the shenanigans and hypocrisies that have been the Vaseline of South African political intercourse for the last 40 years, and #HeTwo does the unthinkable. Uys, in his 70s, continues to ratchet up the […]

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What’s in a tribute?

THE LAST SEVERAL months of this year have seen an unprecedented number of deaths in South Africa’s arts community, from popular crossover musician and anthropologist Johnny Clegg, to opera star Sidwill Hartman, theatre giant Nomhle Nkonyeni and great artist David Koloane. The world has lost the special talents […]

No electricity here

PICTURE ALL THE ingredients for a fabulously good yarn: a great historical feud, complicated theories to explain, the sexy philosophical potency of the electric chair, complex social conditions and the unsophisticated medical savvy of the 19th century. There’s even a spot of Morse Code jokes in the mix, […]

Wild beasts caught in a franchise

WARNING: THIS SHOW FEATURES THE USE OF STROBE LIGHTS IF YOU ARE complacent about feeding your youngsters a hefty uncritical dose of colonial platitudes, dished out by adult performers dressed in furry onesies, look no further. With lashings of strobes, pepperings of shrieks and frantic chases around the […]

Not only the piano player

MUSICAL BIOPICS ARE always complicated and oft dangerous affairs. They may be about not letting the facts get in the way of a good yarn, as they may find themselves compromised by a quest to find actors who look the part rather than have the skills or the […]

Some pig, with a little help from his friends

IT TAKES A special blend of creative fierceness, respect for the original and gentleness toward traditions established by a theatre over many years, to reinvent a great old chestnut with enormous success. The creative team behind this year’s iteration of Charlotte’s Web are not names previously associated with […]

Doors and Windows: A Story of Rainfall

SOMETIMES WHEN IT seems that the whole world is conspiring wickedly against you, you’re actually an arm’s reach away from a new chapter. And before you reach for the cross stitch to immortalise that legend, dispossess yourself of any silly platitudes as you tune in to the podcast […]

The Music Teacher, as an old woman

BY ALL ACCOUNTS, French actor Isabelle Huppert is magnificent. She has class and presence, she’s sexy and she’s not predictable. She’s beautiful in a way that evades Hollywood’s shallow glamour, but not even Huppert herself can save Greta, a film that may make you pause to consider if […]

The elegance of the humble peg

IT’S EASY TO take a broom, a peg or an iron for granted in the daily conflagration of things that constitutes life itself. It’s about the daily grind of keeping dirt at bay as much as it is about presenting yourself in public, to say nothing of domesticity […]