MusicalNorth WestReview

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Liverpool Empire

Reviewer: Clare Comer

Music, Book and Lyrics: Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom Macrae

From an original idea by Jonathan Butterell.

Director: Matt Ryan

The hit West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie arrived at the Liverpool Empire Theatre this week and tells the story of a sixteen-year-old boy who wants to be a drag queen. Inspired by the BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, Jonathan Butterell came up with an idea, and with the help of Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom Macrae they created a script that somehow manages to stir every emotion possible! From hard-hitting scenes that highlight how being “different” and not fitting into a certain box can make you a target to hilarious scenes that take place in a year 11 classroom, this show really has it all! They have even adapted the script to bring it up to date and make it even more relevant with some brilliant Covid-19 jokes.

In the title role, Layton Williams shows why he is every inch “a superstar…. in a wonderbra!”. He oozes talent and his characterisation is perfect. The second Williams dons those killer red heels you know he is a force to be reckoned with, yet he still manages to portray the vulnerability of a child who wants to be accepted for who he is… especially by his dad. If you are lucky enough to have seen Williams before then you will already know he can move, but in this show, he gives a masterclass in dancing in stilettos. He has the perfect strut and is the perfect Jamie!

Amy Ellen Richardson pulls on the heartstrings as Jamie’s mum Margaret. The single mum who encourages her son to be exactly who he wants to be, but who also wants to protect him at all costs, Richardson is both likeable and relatable. When she sings He’s My Boy you can really feel her anxiety and pain – it is stunning and there isn’t a dry eye in the house!

The show brings plenty of laughs, a lot of which come from former soap star Shobna Gulati in the role of family friend, Ray. She is hilarious throughout and gives a stellar performance. The same can be said of Jamie’s best friend and confident Pritti (Sharan Phull). Phull is quite understated in her role, but her onstage friendship with Williams is believable and she shines vocally!

Throw into the mix some great scene changes, excellently choreographed group numbers – performed by the ensemble cast featuring George Sampson as bully Dean Paxton, and the arrival on stage of some fabulous drag queens, led by Loco Chanelle (Bianca Del Rio / Roy Haylock) and you really have the cocktail for great show! You will leave the theatre feeling like you can take on the world, and you will definitely leave the theatre talking about Jamie!

Runs until Saturday 27 November 2021.

Everybody Will Be Talking

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The North West team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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