Artwork by Dee.M
One Love: The Bob Marley Musical
written and directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah
The rhythmic beats of some of his greatest hits such as, Exodus to the uplifting lyrics of One Love had the audience mesmerised. One Love :The Bob Marley Musical is an important biography of Robert Nesta Marley. The play showcased the struggles, challenges and joys in his personal,political and musical career. A journey from Trench Town, the collaboration with The Wailers, to becoming an international global superstar. The viewer saw the political history of Jamaican politics unfold and revealed how the then President Michael Manley (Adrian Irvine) the opposition leader Edward Seaga (Simeon Truby) manipulated Bob for their own purposes with the consequences being an attempt on his life, his family, the band were present and his manager was shot several time. This caused him to leave his homeland and exiled to England where we see the meeting of Chris Blackwell of Island records and the division it causes within the band as they disagreed with the venues and audiences they played to. The touring takes its toll in turn he loses his way and has a relationship with Cindy Breakspeare played by the excellent Cat Simmons, during this time he wrote the critically acclaimed and commercial successful album Exodus.
The pivotal point of the performance was the peace concert in 1978, the most important political reggae concert ever staged. Bob Marley returns to Jamaica to unite Prime Minister Michael Manley People's National Party (PNP) with leader of the opposition Edward Seaga Jamaica Labour party, on stage to hold hands above Marley’s head. For some in the audience like myself who remember this moment and witnessed it on the television it was powerful and emotive. The finale sees the audience becoming fully engaged by raising from their seats to sing and dance to the iconic song One Love. The audience left feeling uplifted and on a positive high and was reminded of his musical legacy.
The casting crew were on point with the cast perfectly selected, Mitchell Brunings made his UK debut as Bob Marley his voice was uncanny and very similar to Marley’s. Alexia Khadime played Rita Marley fiercely, the dancing was superb, the band were buzzing and it was hard to stay in my seat.