Anansi is Justin Audibert’s first show in his opening season at the Unicorn and is a perfect combination of storytelling, music and audience participation to keep little people engaged throughout. The rhythmic African drumming which introduces the show captivated this young Londoner from the start and he kept along with the story despite being just under the recommended age of 3.
The three female performers Afia Abusham, Sapphire Joy and Juliet Okotie kept the audience engrossed in the tales they spun against the backdrop of the creatively designed forest set by Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey. When we entered the auditorium the first reaction from my son was to ask to climb the tree trunks and take a nap inside the large overhanging leaves.
The one hour show is made up of three different shorter parable like stories and each has a moral teaching behind it. The darker subjects, from which Unicorn Theatre does not shy away, are approached with humour. There are many instances throughout the performance where the audience helps the main characters move the story along with some participation, either handing out wisdom, volunteering themselves as guests to Anansi’s party or simply making candid comments (as children do!).
The first story is all about wisdom where Anansi decides to share his wisdom with the world rather than following his desire to hoard it for himself. At this point, tiny bits of wisdom paper are thrown up in the air and the toddlers were particularly delighted in finding them and sticking them to their fingers.
The second tale has Anansi try to kid animals in the forest into receiving a beating from a snake instead of him. This works well the first few times but ends with Anansi getting killed. This didn’t seem to phase this young Londoner as he was keen to be invited into Anansi’s layer when no animals would venture in.
Finally the last tale is of a father and his two sons and his wish to be in two places at once. He decided to tie a rope around his waist and have his sons pull on the rope to bring him back and forth from one party to another (which a young audience member said was exactly the solution he had in mind!). Predictably his plans fall apart and in the end he doesn’t make it to either party.
Anansi the spider is a joyous show that will entertain both little people and their families. The show is on at Unicorn theatre until 27 October 2019 and tickets start at £10. On the 5th, 12th and 19th of October there are free family activities around Anansi the spider where you can paint his patterns and enjoy spider themed crafts. More info and booking visit their website here.