JA Story, Stratford Circus Theatre
The script writer of the highly-acclaimed Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame, J.D. Douglas is back with J.A. Story, the Musical which he has written, composed and directed.
Jamaica is a country rich in beauty, culture and resources but is sometimes in the limelight for all the wrong reason. In J.D.'s musical, this Caribbean island is given a makeover using songs, dance and humour to chart key historical events and yes, there's more to Jamaica than the late, great Robert Nestor Marley.
In this production, Jamaica's story begins with Christopher Columbus and the impact of Spain, China, India and Britain. Other highlights include the Maroons, the Morant Bay Uprising, William James Gordon (awarded the Victoria Cross), Marcus Garvey, and Ian Fleming (created James Bond). There are also other facts in between and we end on a high with Jamaica's independence in August, 1962.
In the UK, Black history is often marginalised into October for black history month with slavery being the topic of choice and not much else. J.A. Story is a much needed historical journey for people like me who want to learn more about Jamaica's past. But don't worry it's not like text book learning. No, J.D. ensures the audience is thoroughly entertained, engaged and enlightened from start to finish. He does this by incorporating smooth choreography married with uplifting lyrics and songs which he combines with the skill of a good story teller who has a sense of pride for his people.
In my eyes, this play's opening song serves as a warm reminder of what Jamaica is all about 'Sweet Paradise, Jamaica Nice. As someone of Jamaican heritage, I agree. I hope J.A. Story gets to tour all over the world as it's a joy to watch and a pleasurable learning experience.
JA Story was at Stratford Circus Theatre from 30 October to 1 November.