Anancy and the Strawberry Queen 1974

The second Jamaican style pantomime produced by Dark and Light Theatre. A folk/rock magical-make-believe- fantastical-fairytale musical with allegorical characters.


Act one takes place in and around Strawberry Palace in Strawberry Land in the Land of Fantasia.

Act two takes us from Strawberry Land to Mongoose Territory in the land of the Serpentine and then back to Strawberry Land.

Anansi, refusing to accept the realities of life, takes refuge in his fantasies in the Land of Fantasia – a hypothetical country ruined by the gracious Queen of the Strawberries and the hateful, wicked Demon King Cobra (Brer Snake) of the Serpentine.

So when the Queen announces she’s giving a Gala Strawberry Tea Party to choose a Chancellor to stabilize her dwindling economy, and that whoever is chosen for the job and can put her territory back on the road to prosperity she will reward in giving in marriage the hand of her adopted daughter, Golden Delicious, Anansi, that avaricious gentleman, invites himself along to partake in the sumptuous goodies.

Yet though the idea of work frustrates Anansi, he cannot let the opportunity pass to obtain for himself a positive stand in life. Now Anansi has a son, a Prince Bum Bum, who is the most recent of the family to come over to England. This boy is blessed with all of his father’s graceful attributes, in that he has never done a day’s work in his life. But when he decides to recommend him for the job under the disguise of Count Dubblecream, so that he could live off his son’s toil and labour, Klancy, his wife, insists that she accompanies Bum Bum as his lady-in-waiting, as her poor boy will die from overwork.

Yet Anansi is not the only one who has his finger in the pie. The Demon King Cobra had his spies at the Queen’s Drooping the Colour Ceremony, and learning that she is seeking a Chancellor and a possible suitor for Golden Delicious for whom he had long yearned, he sees his chance of becoming not only ruler of Strawberry Land, but of the entire land of Fantasia. So, he too applies for the job, under the guise of Everybody’s Screaming-Glittering, Singing-Dancing-Young-Pop-Idol, Count Prince Louse. But the Queen, quite opposed to the obnoxiousness of Pop Idolstry, in a rousing number, chooses the simplest Count Dubblecream as her Chancellor.

And so, Cobra vows vengeance on Strawberry Land. Not only is Bum-Bum unable to stabilize the economy, but he cannot find favour from Golden Delicious. So Anansi seek the help of Fairy Molasses, his Fairy Godmother. But all does not go well for Anansi. Cobra sends his army dressed as red spiders, the Strawberries deadliest enemies, to destroy the Queen’s Strawberry crop. Anansi, Klancy and Bum Bum are accused, revealed as Spiders and sentenced to be cremated alive.

But the wily Spiderman and his family escape with the help of Golden Delicious, and set off to seek Brer Mongoose’s help and advice to destroy the Demon King…


December 1974


King Cobra of the Serpentine, Fairy Molasses, Anansi, Klansy (his wife), Prince Bum Bum (their son), The Queen of Strawberries, Golden Delicious (her adopted daughter), Baron Solemacher (Her PM), Oberschlesion (The Palace Footman), Brer Mongoose, Spiders, Strawberries etc.


Manley Young


Directed by Norman Beaton, Music by IIona Sekacz, Choreography by Cathy Viner


Singer and songwriter for The Equals, Eddy Grant, made his live theatre debut in the production


Also ran at the Battersea Arts Centre, Monday 23rd December.

Costume designs V&A Theatre Collections, Private Collection