Everybody's Talking About Jamie

No matter how many times I see this show it never fails to deliver a spectacular evening in full technicolour.

For a show that first premiered in 2017, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie continues to go from strength to strength. The real life story of a teenager who wants nothing more than to attend his prom in a dress takes us on a journey of discovery, vulnerability, confusion and love as Jamie New navigates the life he has chosen celebrating everything that is wonderful about the LGBTQ+ community and drag as an art form. This wonderful world is shown to be an accepting place to be, despite many obstacles still in its way to this very day.

In the lead role of Jamie New for this show was Finton Flynn. Understudying this role, Flynn was able to fill those infamous red heels with gusto! He brought a freshness and energy to the role that was completely infectious, with a wonderful comedic streak and diva qualities. Not only a wonderful actor, but with a voice to match, especially during ‘The Wall In My Head’. Flynn has a very bright future ahead of him and it was a pleasure to see him shining in the spotlight.

Playing Jamie’s Mum Margaret is Rebecca McKinnis who touches my heart on so many levels every time I hear her sing ‘He’s My Boy’. The raw emotion shown throughout this song leaves goosebumps on top of goosebumps and the biggest round of applause of the night for this particular number was 100% warranted. Playing Margaret’s best friend Ray, a woman with a dirty mouth, but an incredibly big and warm heart is Shobna Gulati. This role has some killer lines, including the classic ‘it boils my piss’ which is always delivered with exceptional comic timing by Gulati. Her performance leaves you begging for more and if there was ever a spin off show to be written, then it has to be all about Ray!

For me, the most interesting character has to be Hugo/Loco Chanelle who becomes a father figure and mentor to Jamie as he navigates his way through the ups and downs of becoming a drag performer. Playing the role at various venues throughout the tour is John Partridge. I will hold my hands up and state that I am a massive fan of John already, so to see him in this role is an absolute joy and pleasure. Vocally he has never been stronger and this is showcased during his big number ‘The Legend of Loco Chanelle’ (And The Blood Red Dress). Whilst there is a comedic scene playing out whilst he’s singing leading your eyes elsewhere, the passion and delivery of this song is second to none. Now, as soon as we see Loco Chanelle in all her finery, it’s clear that John is completely at home sashaying all over the stage, with many exaggerated swishes of the dress and the immaculate overall look.

The writer of this story, Tom Macrae is able to capture the essence of who Jamie is, and who he wants to be. Allowing us to tag along for the journey with many funny moments scattered alongside the tender and sometimes hard to watch moments.  This show is fast paced and keeps you captivated throughout as you root for this young boy who wants nothing more than to be the person he was born to be, despite the many negative moments that he must encounter. The music, written by Dan Gillespie Sells is completely memorable and you’ll be humming one of the tunes as you walk out of the theatre without a doubt!

Playing the role of Miss Hedge, the school teacher who puts many barriers in Jamie’s way is Giovanna Fletcher. Giving a confident performance with a very authentic Sheffield accent, Fletcher shone during ‘Work of Art’ and was able to deliver some fantastic moments during her interactions with the unruly Year 11 class she is in charge of. Talking of the students, the ensemble cast work so hard and execute some very high energy choreography by Kate Prince without seemingly breaking a sweat!

This show is, and continues to be, a firm favourite in the musical theatre world. The story is still so relevant and still needs to be heard. There are many reasons to see this show, so step out of the darkness and into the spotlight, I promise you’ll love it!

This show was reviewed on the 23rd January 2024.  Everybody's Talking About Jamie runs at the Wolverhampton Grand until the 27th January 2024.  Tickets available here: EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE | Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Full tour details can be found here: Everybody's Talking About Jamie - London & UK Tour (everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk)

Review written by Emma Rowley

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Photo credit: Matt Crockett

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