From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
review 1/16/91 by Sue Lockett John
Increasingly, live children's theater not only stretches the imagination but expands cross-cultural
awareness as well.
..."Anansi The Spider" is taken from West African folklore about a masterfully clever but
lazy and greedy spider that loves to eat but hates to work. The Oregon Shadow Theatre team of
Deb Chase and Mick Doherty weaves three stories about this timeless trickster into the colorful
35-minute whole that opened last weekend at the Northwest Puppet Center.
Chase runs the "cast" of approximately 60 shadow puppets and scenery pieces from behind
the back-lit screen, while Doherty remains in full view to narrate and generate music and sound
effects with his one-man band of African instruments.
The effect resembles an animated art film that's respectful to both its subject matter and its
audience. The script is easily followed, with kid-pleasing humor and a no-nonsense comeuppance for
the conniving hero. The richness of Chase's puppets and Doherty's music is more than enough to keep
the accompanying adults engaged.
Chase obviously has invested hours of loving attention to detail in the whimsical ethnic dress of
Anansi, his wife and children and their neighbors: Water Goblin, Chameleon, Turtle, Chimpanzee...
Doherty, who studied with master drummer Obo Addy to train for this show, shows the same dedication
in his music.
More than the simple story itself, it's their talent that makes this collection of folk tales come