The Anansi tales travelled with those who were enslaved in Ghana and west Africa to the Caribbean. Here they were retold to keep the flames of home alive.
Anansi is a cunning spider, who is proud and envious, but quick witted. This show gives a selection of the stories, based on the foundation tale of how Anansi got all the stories released by Nyame, the sky god, who was hoarding them for himself.
There is a strong moral theme, of honouring one’s elders, sharing and doing what is right. Anansi is given three impossible tasks to complete to get the stories. A twist is that Anansi is female rather than the traditional male. As the plot unfolds Msimisi Affolderbach-Diamini brilliantly plays the bewitched rock python, seven unsuitable suitors, a narrator and the guitar.
Toussaint Meghie gives us Vipro, a particularly nasty snake as well as Osebo. Anniwaa Buachie is a suitably leggy, whirly Anansi and Lynette Clarke is a narrator, and the anxious mother of Akua (Vanessa Sampson) a young beauty ready for life.
It is good to see these stories brought to a wider audience and it is great to have the show in our diverse borough, with many African and Caribbean cultures represented. But I think the writer Lisa Cagnacci could have been more ambitious in exploiting the cunning, drama, nastiness and humour, which children really relish and enjoy.
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