The theatre was fully booked and buzzing for the penultimate show of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Theatre Royal. The lights shut down, the music began, and over a thousand people packed into the theatre all cheered.
The musical is based on the life of Jamie Campbell, a boy growing up in County Durham with the dream to be a drag queen and wear a dress to his school prom. Jamie wrote to every producer he could find to have a documentary made about his life, and the BBC decided to do it. This is the inspiration for the musical. The show exploded after a small, short run at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, and has now been on the West End since 2017, and performed worldwide.
The performance was so full of life, and filled the entire theatre with energy. Dan Gillsepie Sells’ music is worthy of many repeat listens once the show has finished. The cast were fantastic, and got the whole theatre laughing with them. Layton Williams (Jamie New) enticed the audience in with his sass and high kicks, Sharan Phull (Pritti Pasha) was charming as Jamie’s best friend, Pritti Pasha, whilst it was also so lovely to see how Jamie’s mum and her best friend Ray were so supportive of Jamie’s wishes to be a drag queen, buying him high heels and lipstick.
Anna Fleische designed the costume and the set, which was wonderful. From my view up in the gallery, it was possible to see how the tables of the classroom moved around in formation as part of the of the exciting choreography by Kate Prince. The bright red pair of heels gifted to Jamie on his birthday were an iconic symbol of the glamour and fun of the show.
The performance was so full of life, and filled the entire theatre with energy.
You really rooted for and loved Jamie, and wanted him to be “the one” he dreamed of. At the same time, you passionately hated his dad, a classmate Dean, and his teacher Miss Hedge, all of whom rejected him for who he was. Just as much as the show was joyful and fun, there were extremely poignant moments where your heart ached for Jamie, as he was prevented from being his true self.
Despite the real Jamie coming from County Durham, the original director decided to base the musical in Sheffield. It really made the show that it was so distinctly Northern, from the language the characters use to Ray coming in through the back door for a cup of tea and always being in their home.
As well as being an important show about being your true self, this musical is vibrant, exciting, and will get you singing along all the way through. If you have the chance to go and see Everbody’s Talking About Jamie, definitely get yourself a ticket!