Review: Everybody's Talking About Jamie - A joyous celebration of individuality and acceptance
FESTIVAL THEATRE, Nicolson Street
* * * * *
Based on the true story of Jamie Campbell, the 16-year-old boy who went to his school prom in a dress, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a joyous celebration of individuality and acceptance that has already taken London by storm.
Three of those West End stars reprise their roles for this touring production and are the foundations around which this perfectly cast musical is built.
In the title role, Layton Williams’ Jamie New is a sensitive creation imbued with an outward independence and self-belief born of insecurity. It’s an warm, endearing performance that, though capable of tearing at the heart strings, ensures laughs are never far away.
As Jamie’s mentor Hugo, also known as drag queen Loco Chanelle, Shane Richie is tenderly fierce. His beautifully pitched portrayal boasts an innate protectiveness and understanding of his charge as he arranges for him to make his debut at Legs 11 Drag Club as Mimi Me.
Not that anyone can match Amy Ellen Richardson as Margaret, Jamie’s mum, in the protectiveness stakes. Richardson is phenomenal in the role, reducing some in the audience to tears with a show-stealing rendition of He’s My Boy - it’s electric.
As her best pal Ray, Shobna Gulati has all the best lines and knows just how to deliver them in a laugh out loud master-class of comic timing.
Also deserving of a mention is BGT winner George Sampson, who impresses as school bully Dean Paxton, and Shanan Phull who is excellent as Jamie’s studious best pal Pritti Pasha.
Scotland’s very own JP McCue, better known as Mary Mac, is also on strong form as drag queen Laika Virgin. All are backed by a youthful and stupidly talented ensemble who never let the energy waver for a moment.
With the action driven by Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom Macrae’s tight script and catchy songs, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie may hide a bitingly sad heart beneath the comedy and glitz, but it is a show guaranteed to send you away with a smile on your face and hope in your heart.
If you can do that, you need do no more. A show then, that you really should see... and you don’t even know it.
Run ends Saturday 7 march