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Hard-hitting tale of police corruption in Caribbean comes to Stratford theatre

Derek Elroy Derek Elroy

Saturday, March 8, 2014
7:00 AM

Present-day Jamaica is under the microscope in a hard-hitting new drama at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

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Trevor Laird, Goldie and Brian BovellTrevor Laird, Goldie and Brian Bovell

Kingston 14, named after the district in which the play is set, will debut on March 28.

Playwright Roy Williams examines postcolonial themes of corruption and identity revolving around a police station in the heart of the island’s capital.

Starring musician, artist and actor Goldie in the lead role of Joker, a notorious gang leader, the plot follows his interaction with detective James Richards.

The British police officer, born to Jamaican parents, is sent to the island to investigate the death of a British tourist.

Met with an atmosphere of tension and suspicion he delves into a vice-ridden world of organised crime.

Derek Elroy, who plays the detective, said: “He is a great character who is honest and forthright, but he is in a place where he is not comfortable.”

Elroy said the play is important for its comprehensive examination of Jamaican culture.

He said: “I think the audience can look forward to seeing a truthful story which is illustrated by rounded characters, not just stereotypes.

“What you are seeing is as close to reality as you will get.”

As well as a journey of rediscovery for the detective, the play aims to give an insight into the collective Jamaican experience.

Elroy added: “The audience will take away a greater understanding of Jamaican people as the reggae-singing, fast-running people of the Caribbean, but also as a proud people with a tradition of overcoming adversity.

“It can be quite dark to see how we persevere, but it’s a testament to the character of the Jamaican.”

Kingston 14 runs until April 29. Tickets cost from £7 to £22.50.

Discounted £2.50 tickets are available for Newham residents who are first-time bookers at the theatre for the opening night.

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