Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Tour

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is on tour and I decided to catch it in London at the Peacock theatre. The musical is based on the true story of Jamie, a 16 year old growing up in Sheffield who decides he wants to be a drag queen and embrace his true self by wearing a dress and heels to his school prom. Along the way Jamie encounters school bullies, his father who no longer wants to be involved in his life and a former drag queen who takes him under his wing.

The book by Tom Macrae is a masterclass in story writing for musical theatre. At it’s heart is a story about acceptance of yourself and others but told through the lens of Jamie. The book itself is witty and relevant and I switched between laughing out load to feeling a huge amount of empathy for the characters. Not only does it peel back the layers of Jamie himself but also of many of the supporting characters including Jamie’s mum, Margaret and his best friend Pritti Pascha. These characters were all multi-dimensional and you found yourself rooting for all of them 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 cast were without a doubt exceptional across the board. The star of the show was undoubtedly Ivano Turco who played Jamie himself. This role is huge and requires a real triple threat of which Turco was. His high energy, combined with natural charisma ensured that the whole audience empathised with Jamie and were rooting for him to succeed. Rebecca McKinnis played Jamie’s mum, Margaret New and she perfectly portrayed a mum trying to love her son and protect him with all her might, even if Jamie didn’t always agree with her methods. Her songs ‘If I met myself again’ and ‘He’s my boy’ gave a beautiful insight into her character.

Talia Palamathanan played Jamie’s best friend, Pritti Pasha and di so with a huge amount of character and a really warm rendition of Beautiful. The drag queens, lead by John Partridge as Hugo/Loco Chanel along with KY Kelly (Anthony Gyde), Garry Lee and David McNair were wonderful as they were all very different in their looks and drag queen personas. Out of drag as Hugo, Partridge did a wonderful job as Jamie’s drag mother and his transformation was a sight to behold.

The music in the show is by Dan Gillespie Sells and it is a wonderful mix of moving ballads and upbeat numbers. The ballads have a real ability to tug at the heart strings and the upbeat numbers are a joyous explosion of energy. Within the upbeat numbers Kate Prince’s choreography shines, and the inventive use of the school desks within the routines added an extra layer to these eye catching routines.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a show with a lot of joy and fun in it but most importantly a beautiful message that is well told. It not only does justice to this story about acceptance but ensures the whole audience has a good time whilst watching it.

You can find out more about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and the tour on their website.

If you like this review you might also like my review of Back to the Future, Six and Operation Mincemeat.

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