Making her West End debut in the new hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, actress Lucie Shorthouse spoke to Love London Love Culture about her recent award win and the musical’s success in London…
Hi Lucie – thank you so much for talking to Love London Love Culture. Congratulations on your recent award win – how are you feeling about that?
I’m feeling on top of the world – it was a huge shock. I still feel very new to the industry, so I didn’t expect anyone to know about my performance. It’s lovely to have my performance recognised, but I feel it’s more of a victory for diversity and visibility in theatre. The fact it was a public vote and the people voting were championing a diverse character seldom explored in musical theatre was fab.
Could you tell me a bit more about your character Pritti and her role in Jamie’s story?
The story is about a boy who wants to go to school prom in a dress so it could appear quite niche, but everybody has their version of a dress – something they’re maybe too afraid to pursue or explore. It’s about conquering fear and living in your own truth and celebrating who you are. I think that’s a universal lesson. In this divisive time, it’s important to spread a positive message of acceptance.
Pritti is Jamie’s best friend in the show who happens to be Muslim. She is a fully formed rich character, not a token by any means, and she encourages and inspirits Jamie when it’s needed, but also holds him accountable when he goes too far. She really encourages him to live his authentic self and it’s a beautiful friendship they share.
How has it been watching Everybody’s Talking About Jamie develop as a show?
It’s been crazy to see the show grow. I was involved in the second workshop of the production back in 2015 so to follow it through to now and originate the role has been an incredible privilege. The show has garnered momentum through word of mouth so the show’s title is very fitting. I’m so proud a show with such a pertinent message is being embraced by the public it means the world to make work that matters and makes a difference.
What would you say the best audience reaction to the show has been?
The best audience reaction to the show is probably the response at the end- I won’t spoil the show but how the audience get behind the characters and invest in their dreams is amazing. It’s such a joyous celebration every night.
How are you finding it being on the West End stage?
Being on a west end stage is a dream. I can’t believe I get to call it my job. I’m incredibly fortunate and trying to soak up every second because who knows if it will ever happen again!
How nervous were you about making your West End debut? Have you any advice for other performers making their stage debut?
I was more excited than nervous. I try and focus on telling the story and quiet all the other noise that can cause nerves like trying to impress people and critics- it’s not about that it’s about serving the story. I really look up to members of the company who have had longevity in their careers and follow their example. Watching Josie Walker is an education and master class every night and Mina Anwar and Tamsin Carroll are both so professional, generous and warm with their advice. I also take great inspiration from John McCrea who plays Jamie he works so hard and the energy he puts in every night is an example to the whole company.
What would you say is the best part of being part of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has been?
The best part of being in the show is getting to learn more as an actor every night. Also contributing to visibility- as a mixed race girl growing up it was rare for me to see myself represented on screen, in magazines, in theatre and thankfully things have shifted (although we have more to do) but knowing I’m helping someone feel represented is very special.