Performed in lyrical rhyme, this engaging production shows the ‘likkle but we talawa’ spirit Jamaica has used to challenge her former coloniser Britain during a whistle-stop 400 year history tour examining the intersection of their relationship,
Jamaica Love draws upon a humourous ensemble cast comprising storytelling kings (Nathaniel Martin-Thomas and D’Adrian Tomlin) and Queens (Nicole Dayes, Kamesha Francis, and Allison Mason) to depict key moments in Jamaica’s history such as freedom from slavery and the arrival of the Windrush generation 75 years ago. Mason is particularly charming onstage.
An evocative musical soundtrack depicts the tussle between resistance and seeking acceptance both in the motherland and in Britain and its psychological toll on personal and national identities. Drawing upon reggae, ska, and rocksteady with songs like Something Inside So Strong and No Woman, No Cry, and Many Rivers to Cross, the singers are delightful.
With such broad history covered, it is hard to deep dive into character development or complex emotional responses; it often feels that these are simply black or white. Nevertheless, Jamaica Love is a compelling educational musical time capsule that celebrates language, culture, and legacy.