Written expressly for the Federal Minstrels, with 'new locals, dresses, mechanical effects, music, comic scenes, [and] dances' (Sydney Morning Herald 26 December 1885, p.2), this burlesque minstrel pantomime is a loose adaptation, in blackface, of F. C. Burnand's 1866 burlesque of Douglas Jerrold's play Black-Eyed Susan (1829). Unusually, the transformation scene and harlequinade were staged at the start of the production rather than at the end. The extended harlequinade concerned 'the advent on Australia's shores of Captain James Cook.'
The action takes place aboard the H.M.S. Polypheme, and contains a chorus of mermen, mermaids, marines, and sailors. The various sections in the pantomime are:
Scene 1. The Harlequinade;
Scene 2. Grand Transformation;
Scene 3. Second Comic Scene;
Scene 4. Trip: Harlequin and Columbine;
Scene 5. The Soudan Donkey;
Scene 6. 1,000 Leagues under the Sea;
Scene 7. The Funniest Last Scene You Have Ever Seen.
1885: Academy of Music, Sydney, 26 December 1885 - 22 January 1886
Details have also been derived in part from the Annotated Calendar of Plays Premiered in Australia: 1870-1890.