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

Derek Elroy

Derek Elroy - Credit: Archant

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

Trevor Laird, Goldie and Brian Bovell

Trevor Laird, Goldie and Brian Bovell - Credit: Archant

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.”

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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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