Jamie Touring

‘Funny, heart-warming & joyous show’: EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE – Touring ★★★★

In Musicals, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland, Touring by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

Touring – reviewed at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Guest reviewer: Sarah Moyes

Luckily for this new musical, everybody is talking about Jamie, and for all the right reasons in this funny, heart-warming and joyous show which plays at the Festival Theatre until Saturday and tours to Glasgow in June.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, on tour in the UK for the first time, is inspired by the 2011 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. The documentary was created after Jamie, who dreamed of becoming a drag queen, contacted production companies asking them to tell his story when his school told him he couldn’t wear a dress to his high school prom.

The story is reminiscent of Billy Elliot, another young boy fighting against society’s views just to be accepted. Jamie and his mum made a special appearance at the Festival theatre for the opening performance, and they told All Edinburgh Theatre that the reason the show is set in Sheffield and not their hometown of Durham is because it would have had too many similarities to the well-known Billy Elliot story.

It all begins in a classroom where Jamie reveals to his classmates and teacher that he wants to be a drag queen during the opening number, ‘And You Don’t Even Know It’, a catchy upbeat song, which returns many times through the show.

Reprising his role from the West End production, Layton Williams is a triumph in the role of Jamie. He is perfect in his hilarious portrayal of the teenager who is sometimes full of confidence yet still struggles as he comes to terms with being a drag queen in public.

However, it does feel like something isn’t quite right with Williams’ voice. At times his voice sounds either tired or as Layton has been unwell recently. While it doesn’t really effect his performance too much, you can tell he isn’t operating at 100%.

When Jamie returns home from school that day, his mum Margaret played by Amy Ellen Richardson and her best friend Ray, played by Shobna Gulati, are waiting for him with his sixteenth birthday present – a pair of red high heels which begin his journey to becoming the drag queen he always wanted.

Also coming from the West End production is Shane Richie who takes on the role of drag dress shop owner Hugo, who also happens to be a former queen himself named Loco Chanelle. Shane brings a wealth of theatre experience to the role as he heart-warmingly mentors Jamie through the most life-changing time of his life.

Since Jamie’s father, played by Cameron Johnson, is absent and dismissive of his decision to be a drag queen, Hugo steps in a father-like figure who even helps Jamie to book his first drag show. And, despite threats by school bully Dean played by George Sampson, the show goes on.

The music by Dan Gillespie Sells, lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, with lyrics by Tom MacRae turns out to be a winning combination. There are some real gems here and they are given stand out performances from Richardson on the emotionally powerful He’s My Boy and, on the the sweet And It Means Beautiful, by Sharan Phull as Jamie’s best friend Pritti.

Jamie’s story is one of courage against adversity, but one that is full of humour and love too. A real joy to watch from start to finish.

Running time: 2 hour 40 minutes (including one interval)
Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000.
Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 March 2020
Evenings 7.30pm; Matinees Thurs & Sat 2.30pm
Tickets and details:  Book here.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie on tour 2020:

3 – 7 March 2020
Edinburgh
Festival Theatre
0131 529 6000
Book online

10 – 14 March 2020
Northampton
Royal & Derngate
01604 624 811
Book online

16 – 21 March 2020
Birmingham
The Alexandra Theatre
0844 871 3011
Book online

23 – 28 March 2020
Canterbury
The Marlowe Theatre
01227 787787
Book online

30 March – 4 April 2020
Newcastle
Theatre Royal
08448 11 21 21
Book online

6 – 11 April 2020
Brighton
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7650
Book online

20 – 25 April 2020
Nottingham
Theatre Royal
0115 989 5555
Book online

28 April – 2 May 2020
Aberdeen
His Majesty’s Theatre
01224 641122
Book online

5 – 9 May 2020
Llandudno
Venue Cymru
01492 872000
Book online

12 – 16 May 2020
Southampton
The Mayflower Theatre
02380 711811
Book online

18 – 23 May 2020
Cardiff
Wales Millennium Centre
029 2063 6464
Book online

26 – 30 May 2020
Bristol
Hippodrome
0844 871 3012
Book online

1 – 6 June 2020
Norwich
Theatre Royal
01603 63 00 00
Book online

8 – 13 June 2020
Glasgow
King’s Theatre
0844 871 7648
Book online

16 – 20 June 2020
Liverpool
Empire
08448 713 017
Book online

23 – 27 June 2020
Wolverhampton
Grand Theatre
01902 429212
Book online

29 June – 4 July 2020
Leicester
Curve Theatre
01162 423 595
Book online

6 – 11 July 2020
Woking
New Victoria
0844 871 7645
Book online

13 – 18 July 2020
Leeds
Grand Theatre
0844 848 2700
Book online

21 July – 1 August 2020
Salford
Lowry Theatre
08432 086000
Book online

ENDS

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Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.
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Thom Dibdin on FacebookThom Dibdin on RssThom Dibdin on Twitter
Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.

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