Back in September 2018, I went to see Everybody’s Talking about Jamie with my friend Katie and I thought I would finally do a review for you all. In case you couldn’t tell by the five stars, I LOVED it!
Everybody’s Talking about Jamie is about a gay teenager who finds a path to self-acceptance and self-realisation through his love of drag, and charts how his brave determination to go to his high school prom in a dress is realised.
The show is based on a true life story of a 16-year old schoolboy who was the star of the 2011 BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. However, there are several changes from the true life story. Jamie’s real name is Jamie Campbell (I want to meet him one day) whereas in the musical his name is Jamie New. Secondly, the location has been relocated from County Durham to Sheffield. Knowing that the show is based on someone’s life experience really adds to the authenticity of the musical.
The musical first starts with Jamie (John Mccrea) in the classroom of his secondary school, in which him and his fellow classmates are in the middle of a career lesson. The teacher (played at the time by Tamsin Carroll) suggests he could become a fork-lift truck driver due to a test that he’s recently taken. However, he’s envisioning a different future. He wants to be a drag queen.
One of my favourite things about the show is how it shows the obstacles he faces during his commitment to becoming a drag queen. He’s bullied by a class peer, his careers teacher is far from understanding and his father is rejecting and far from a good person. It shows the real problems the LGBTQ+ community go through on a daily basis. However, the support he finds in his best friend, mother and a local drag community (led by Hugo who is the owner of a shop specialising in drag queens and is also a drag queen) is gorgeous and moving to watch.
There were many times where I was reduced to tears but there are also scenes that were outright hilarious. A standout scene for me was Jamie and his best friend in the school toilets after Jamie suffers from a makeup malfunction. John Mccrea gives a gut wrenching performance as Jamie. He struts, shimmies and sings to his hearts content. Rebecca Mckinnis is also beautiful and sincere as Jamie’s mum Margaret, whose big Act Two song “He’s My Boy” is heartbreaking and she delivers.
All of the cast are also spot on. Lucie Shorthouse as Jamie’s best friend Pritti Pasha gives a lovely performance (It Means Beautiful is a fabulous song). Melissa Jacques (a brilliant understudy) as Margaret’s best friend Ray, Lee Ross as Jamie’s drag mentor Hugo, Tamsin Carroll as teacher Miss Hedge, and Luke Baker as school bully Dean Paxton also deliver.
All of the numbers are instantly recognisable and will have you bopping and crying in your seat. It’s obvious everybody’s talking about Everybody’s Talking about Jamie!