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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.

Go no further: Deborah Bell’s blithe skirting with gods

Veteran South African artist, Deborah Bell’s latest exhibition showcases the kind of muscular body of work that gives you courage: the art world is indeed not comprised only of sham, drudgery and broken dreams, to say nothing of self-indulgent sophistry and vague conceptual ideas poorly translated. Rather, the […]

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Bring back the music

A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy? The eponymous Norman Jewison musical from the 1970s, based on a series of stories by Shalom Aleichem may be high schlock to most contemporary audience members, but it retains its status as a modern classic, for a whole rash of reasons, […]

For the love of a little red piano

It’s curiously challenging to attempt to pinpoint quite what makes Rocco de Villiers’s work so utterly entertaining and sublimely successful. Not unlike Nataniël, but still holding firmly to his own brand, his is an approach that is light-hearted yet earnest, filled with puffs of effervescent notes yet competent, […]

Stiff challenges well met in Heidi

Children’s theatre has the license to take the idea of soppy and stretch it to biblical proportions, which enables adults and children alike in the audience to cry with empathetic abandon, as the characters can declare love for one another with the kind of fierce naïve sentimentality that […]

The dulling of exotic verve in Fremde Tänze

“The work begins outside”, people state as the crowd shifts and flows to the quasi-amphitheatre just beyond the foyer doors, and they are silenced in what is arguably one of the more beautiful, elegant and ironic starting points to this year’s Dance Umbrella. The choreographer/performer Nelisiwe Xaba is […]