Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was this years birthday theatre trip for me and a present from Mr Musical Theatre Musings. The show stems from a documentary about Jamie Campbell (renamed Jamie New in the show), a 16 year old boy with an ambition to wear a dress to his prom. The musical follows Jamie from his outing to buy his first dress to his visit to his father who has disowned him.
The show is a masterclass is how to write a witty and relevant book whilst still being moving and containing a huge amount of heart. Throughout the show I was switching between laughing out loud to developing huge amounts of empathy for the characters. Unusually for a musical it wasn’t just the lead character I was rooting for but the likes of Jamie’s mum, Magaret New and Jamie’s best friend Pritti Pascha as well. The characters were all beautifully multi-dimensional with their own interesting development throughout the show. The only exception to this was Jamie’s dad, although to develop his character future would have done little to further the story, predominantly told through Jamie’s eyes.
The choreography by Kate Prince is exciting and fresh moving between more traditional musical theatre styles to street dance, helping to underline the relevance of the production. A particular highlight was the opening of the show, ‘And you Don’t Even Know it’ where the school desks turns into a catwalk and back again throughout the number. The desks also allowed for interesting leaps and formations, a brilliant use of set!
The cast is headed up by John McCrea as Jamie. McCrea embodies Jamie from his bleached blonde tips to his high heeled stiletto. He makes you want to be friends with Jamie at the same time as envying his dance ability in those heels! His scene in the dress shop is utterly compelling and his nerves and insecurities are palatable without jim even opening his mouth. He manages to achieve an understanding of this character who is both unsure of himself and scared to step outside the front door in his heels whilst at the same time being the one to wear a dress to prom. It is this contrast within Jamie that McCrea delivers so well that makes the musical such a success.
The main weakness of the show is the score. Whilst the numbers within the show all really work within the context of the show it is one that you need to hear a few times before you really develop an affinity for it. Whilst the die hard musical theatre fans may be willing to do this many others won’t and it may suffer at the box office as a result.
Due to the relevance of the show and numerous pop culture references this is a show that could date quickly. In my opinion this is actually a positive as it helps instil the show in the here and now and therefore in the audience’s consciousness, helping them relate more to the characters and the importance of the message.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie ticks so many boxes and is the perfect antidote for the hatred we see so much in the news. A moving, joyous show with a cast that do justice to Jamie’s story and a show that needs to be seen by many to help spread the message of acceptance.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is playing at the Apollo and booking until April 2018. To find out more about the show then visit the website.