Jamaica - The Musical
at Hackney Empire, Bullion Room. By Gareth Evans for The Stage
Back within less than a year since its last appearance at the venue, youthful ensemble Ashe is on a mission this time around that is more than theatrical.
The show, a lively, often comic two-hour music and dance revue, builds around sketches interrogating aspects of Jamaican society and history, commissioned by the island's government, keen to counter the negative stereotype of the nation currently prevalent in much of the UK media.
This close official involvement in a project, however celebratory and educationally well-intentioned, should spell creative 'death'. Fortunately, such is the enthusiasm of the company that the rather didactic and sponsor-heavy opening speech by a Jamaican ministerial speaker is quickly overtaken by a more effective sales pitch - spirited, energetic skits and songs conveying admirable sentiments on learning, violence, social inclusion and self-worth. click for more