Music, Book and Lyrics: Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom Macrae
From an original idea by Jonathan Butterell.
Director: Matt Ryan
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, hit West End musical and now touring production, tells the story of a sixteen-year-old boy who wants to become a drag queen. The show, inspired by the BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, follows its titular character as he tries to navigate the prejudice and bullying of a British School system to step into the light and become a drag star.
In the role of Jamie, Layton Williams is the quintessential ‘superstar, in a wonderbra’. Williams walks the line between a vulnerable and uncertain child desperate to be accepted, and a charismatic tour de force in killer red stilettos. His accent and mannerisms transform him into a quintessential lad from Sheffield, and what is particularly impressive here is that even in the most high energy musical numbers he retains both of these features seamlessly.
Supporting him, Sharan Phull as Pritti Pasha and Amy Ellen Richardson as his mum Margret, bring very different and equally warm and supportive elements to Jamie’s story. Phull’s Pritti is quietly confident with a wonderfully unexpected vocal range, and the champion everyone needed in their corner at school. Jamie’s mum Magaret is a powerhouse in the musical numbers, drawing the audience into the grey skies of Sheffield and moving them to tears as she laments how to give her boy the world he deserves.
There is some wonderful humour used to lighten this story in the form of Hugo/Loco Channel (Shane Richie), the drag queen dress shop owner, and his fellow drag queens who bring glamour, heart, and many sequins to the show. The wardrobe department (Iwan Harries) really get to flex their creative muscles in these numbers, showing all of the imagination and flair that encompasses the drag world.
This show balances humour, flair, emotion, and genuine heart in a whirlwind of emotional moments and soaring musical numbers. The audience genuinely swings from wiping away tears to almost crying with laughter within just a few moments of one another.
This is a story that truly strikes a chord with so many, as it champions anyone brave enough to be who they really are.
Runs Until: 5 March 2022