Flamboyant, relevant and highly entertaining, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie delivers a hilarious yet moving narrative following a 16 year old boy who dreams of becoming a drag queen in working class Sheffield. Tom MacRae’s musical is packed full of witty comedy, it explores identity, ambition, and the crushing reality of bigotry in school and even at home.
Amongst the humour, the musical exhibits some truly sincere and saddening moments that remind the audience that the play is based on a true story of a young man questioning his aspirations in an environment that chastises those who step out of the lines of a ‘conventional’, heterosexual society.
Anna Fleischle’s set smoothly flicks between different staging, rotating in a kitchen, desks being wheeled around and shop display mannequins being lowered from above. However, during many of the musical numbers the stage transforms into a concert venue, the wall backdrop becomes a canvas which has projections of the characters, on stage the cast perform immensely slick choreography, masterfully crafted by Kate Prince.
The lead in question is played by Bad Education star Layton Williams. He dominates the stage with his presence, strutting his way through each foot-stomping number with silky vocals and a wonderfully brazen attitude to match. His sassy remarks and optimistic willfulness to not let life beat him down earns Williams constant admiration from the audience, cheers and encouragement are loud and unfaltering.
A particular standout is Rebecca McKinnis as Jamie’s mother, Margaret. A proud, emotionally hurt yet hard working single mother to Jamie, who fervently encourages him to bloom. A particular highlight for McKinnis is ‘He’s my Boy’, a shattering performance that exhibits a range of soft tones exuding melancholy, to belting waves of pride, an outstanding performance.
Other deserving mentions include Sabrina Sandhu’s Pritti, Jamie’s closest friend and ally in school who balances a bashful yet equally brave young woman. Shane Richie’s Hugo/Loco Chanel is also highly enjoyable.
From start to finish Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is simply great fun! The fantastic musical numbers, the priceless humour and some truly touching moments make it a show that is honestly worth seeing. 5/5
Review written by Daniel Elliman.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is currently showing until Saturday 28th September 2019. To find out more about the production, visit here…
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