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.

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 […]

When the cat’s away …

REVIEW: RADIO DRAMA: WOLF-WOLF HOE LAAT IS DIT? IT TAKES A particular kind of empathy to reflect on the messy values of human deterioration or imperfection without slipping into the cripplingly clichéd or maudlin. It takes an even more incisive understanding of what makes us human beings tick, […]

Eternity: In their lips, their eyes

FILM REVIEW: ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA. IF YOU FEEL you deserve something so rich and evolved, something so sophisticated and delicious on the senses, this evening or any time until Wednesday 13 May, don’t lean toward the fridge or the online hot food delivery business. Don’t get despondent that […]

Truths, lies and looking in the mirror

BOOK REVIEW: BETRAYAL BY JONATHAN ANCER. IT’S EASY TO judge someone proven to be in the wrong, someone unmasked and publicly shamed. It’s easy to tut-tut about someone’s malleability in the face of complicated lures. It’s also easy to voice judgemental opinions through the gauze of history, and […]

Two fair gourds of equal sweetness

FILM REVIEW: THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN, FILMED AT THE GLOBE. FRANCESCA MILLS TAKES the soul of this production of The Two Noble Kinsmen, one of Shakespeare’s lesser known works and rolls it between her fingers, thunderously like a god. This performer, who has dwarfism, takes on the whole […]

Original sin; utter hubris

FILM REVIEW: FRANKENSTEIN. This review is premised on the version of the work with Jonny Lee Miller as the creature. A man makes a living creature by pulling together alchemical possibilities and graveyard detritus sewn together with a crude hand. And thus starts one of the western world’s […]

A tale of monsters and broken men

FILM REVIEW: FRANKENSTEIN. This review is premised on the version of the work with Benedict Cumberbatch as the creature. What is it that gives us humanity? Nay, that gives us life? The stuff that distinguishes life from death is the substance of the 1817 prototype gothic horror novel […]

Songs of angry men and their moms

AFRIKAANS RADIO DRAMA REVIEW: VERGIFNIS. SOMETIMES RELATIONSHIPS ARE forged between people that have absolutely nothing to do with the ties of social ordinariness or the expectations of convention. Sliding carefully into archetype, these are the maverick connections necessary to bring dynamite to important ambitions. A tale of dreams, […]