Bright and fierce morals for tots


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 and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years.
Robyn Sassen


CAN’T believe my eyes! (from back left) television addict Mike Teavee (Dewald Vermeulen), Willy Wonka (Roberto Pombo), gluttonous Augustus Gloop (Yatho Kraft) and Charlie’s granddad Joe (Mlindeli Zondi); and (from front left) gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde (Zoleka Monare); the little girl who wants more, Veruca Salt (Taryn Bennett) and Mrs Beauregarde (Ziaphora Dakile), as Charlie Bucket (Ashton Mervis) peeps around them all. Photograph courtesy National Children’s Theatre.

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WHAT DO YOU do when you’re tasked with the staging of modern children’s classic that burst into popularity in 1964 and did not stint in saying things that were hilariously rude, flying in the face of all refined convention with some chewed chewing gum stuck behind its proverbial ear? Why, you give it the cheeky wings it warrants for the current generation of littlies, of course. And that is precisely what director Jenine Collocott has done with this version of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate…

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