Apollo Theatre, London
Having just celebrated its first birthday in the West End (a pleasant surprise to see such a musical thriving there), Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is starting to make the kind of moves that will hopefully see that success continue. Layton Williams will be stepping into Jamie’s killer heels when John McCrea finishes his award-winning turn at the front, and some borderline-stunt casting got me back to the Apollo no worries.
Chucking Michelle Visage into the cast is actually a rather inspired move. Regardless of what you think of her, her friend-to-the-gays credentials are beyond reproach, particularly where drag is concerned and Miss Hedge is the kind of supporting role that doesn’t pull too much focus while still offering a couple of opportunities to shine. And Visage does seem to have settled right into the company.
Truth be told, or tea be spilled, the challenges of a Sheffield accent are a step too far and I’ll tell you why. Her accent wavers from Yorkshire to RP and occasionally veers between continents within the same sentence, it’s not the strongest. But in so many ways it doesn’t really matter as the amount of cleavage on display points us to an exaggerated sense of character rather than a faithful replication of a careers teacher.
And getting the chance to rap in ‘Don’t Even Know It’ plays right into her wheelhouse, taking the opportunity to shine just the right amount. As for the rest of the show, I loved it just as much as I have before. Shobna Gulati is huge fun as Ray, Lucie Shorthouse continues to knock it out of the park as Pritti and I saw understudy Melissa Jacques do a smashing job as Jamie’s mum Margaret.
So yeah, I’d say signs look good for Jamie to celebrate a few more birthdays yet, and surely the next move would be to get RuPaul herself in for a stint to play Hugo…