The uplifting and inspiring ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ has finally arrived in Leicester and everybody certainly should be talking about it. From humble beginnings in Sheffield, this stunning musical opened in 2017 for a short 19 performance run. 4 years later, Jamie is still delighting audiences in the West End, internationally, and now across the UK. This touching true story see’s 16 year old Jamie New struggle to navigate teenage typecasting, bullying and cynicism to pursue his dream of becoming a Drag Queen. Supported by his unlikely best friend we see that with grit and determination you really can achieve anything. Jamie’s story is an intricately written rollercoaster of highs and lows which ultimately shows the importance of friendship and self worth, inspiring the audience to leave believing that they truly can do anything.
Having seen this musical in the West End I was really excited to see how it would be transferred to the touring production and am thrilled to report that it hasn’t been watered down one bit. Every ounce of magic is preserved for the UK stages and it is a joy to behold. You’ll laugh, cry, smile and holler as this exceptional team takes you on a remarkable journey of self discovery.
Every member of this strong cast impresses as they create a formidable team onstage. The fabulous ensemble impress, delivering flawless choreography by Kate Prince which really comes to life in a stunning performance of ‘If I Met Myself Again’ when Ryan Hughes and Kazmin Borrer provide stand out dance performances to recall heartbreaking memories of young love. Shane Ritchie delights as he reprises his role of Hugo and the legendary Loco Chanelle. He brings fantastic humour to the role and has the audience howling whenever he graces the stage. Shobna Gulati as Ray and Sharan Phull as Pritti both give endearing performances as the hilarious and fearless best friends – I think we all need one of those.
Far and away the stand out performances of the night go to the incredible Layton Williams and Amy Ellen Richardson as Jamie and Margaret New. Layton is reprising this role which he played in the West End and thank goodness we get to see him absolutely slay it as Jamie again. I didn’t know it was possible but he seems even more relaxed in this role than ever before. It is a complete joy to see him perform with such ease and grace. He has the audience in the palm of his hand with a brilliant ability to switch between hilarity and heartache seamlessly. Amy Ellen Richardson completely blew me away as Margaret New. In the most heart wrenching performance of Margaret I’ve seen, Richardson has the audience stunned to silence with her breathtaking vocals and flawless acting. You could hear a pin drop in the middle of ‘My Man, Your Boy’ which is a testament to her extraordinary talent. As a pair, these two are a phenomenon.
Anna Fleischle’s design is transferred from the London production to the tour and alongside Lucy Carter’s lighting portrays the grey streets of Sheffield perfectly well whilst also transforming into classroom, kitchen and drag show brilliantly. Unfortunately the sound was a bit off and some sections of song were too quiet to be heard, hopefully this was an opening night blunder and it most definitely didn’t detract from our enjoyment of the show.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a beautifully written true story which is bound to inspire each and every one of us. You cant help but be swept up by this heartwarming tale, told exceptionally well by this touring cast. If you’re looking for an uplifting and inspiring night at the theatre, look no further than this.
Production Images by Matt Crockett
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