Everybody’s talking about Jamie finally arrived at the Newcastle Theatre Royal this week, and wow what a show! It was Funny, Uplifting and Fabulous. Originating from a BBC3 documentary called Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 in 2011, Jonathan Butterall came across the show and knew that it had to hit the stage. Thereafter the play was commisioned in 2014 and had it’s opening night in Sheffield in 2017. This show became a huge hit and moved to London’s west end, where it continued to get rave reviews, celebrating it’s 1000th performance earlier this year and now a film on Amazon Prime it’s now on tour, and we get to see why Everybody’s talking about Jamie.
Jamie Campbells story was the inspiration for this musical. From an ex mining town in Bishop Auckland, Durham. We learn the story of Jamie New, a gay school boy who wants to go to prom in a dress. We see his journey, alongside his fabulous mother Margaret, who his encourages him to be his true and best self in everyway. We see the ups and downs of peoples attitudes towards Jamie as he plans to wear a dress to prom, performs in drag for the first time and the downsides that he has to come through on this journey of self discovery.
Layton Williams is just fantastic as Jamie. He’s just a being a boy who sometimes wants to be a girl. He played this role in the west end and has the exact amount of sass needed for it, as well as great legs and the ability to walk in heels! His portrayal of this role was just fabulous, ranging from excitement, sadness, joy and emotion, we see it all. Remembering throughout that this was based on a real life experience, the school yard taunts led by George Sampson as classroom bully Dean Paxton and the putting down of his ambitions by careers teacher Ms Hedge played by Lara Denning are contrasted brilliantly by the encouragement from his mother and her best friend Ray played Amy Ellen Richardson and Shobna Gulati respectively. Sharan Phull also as Jamies best friend Pritti, comes into her own later in the play and is another ever present source of belief and encouragement. Shane Richie gives it his all and is fabulous as Hugo, aka Loco Chanelle, and gifts us the sights of which I never new i needed as he dazzles with his vocals and heels. When he meets Jamie for the first time in his shop, it gives us a lovely scene where he tells this drag queen to be to go for it and starts him on his path to being MImi Me.
Musically it’s is hugely enjoyable, and songs like ‘The legend of coco chanelle’ give the characters their moments. Shane Richie fab in the aforementioned song, Amy Ellen Richardson pulls on our heartstrings with ‘He’s my boy’, the title song at the start of the second half celebrates Jamies first performance with ‘Everybody’s talking about Jamie’. With a live band visible at the top of the staging they get to see the enjoyment on everyones faces.
Jamie Campbell of whom this was based on was also in the audience, and kindly took time in the intrval to have pictures with fans also. This show is funny, fabulous, heartwarming, brave and inspirational.
Tickets from: £15.00
Matinees: Thu 2pm & Sat 2.30pm
Running time: 2 hours 40mins (including interval)
Recommended: 12+ (parental discretion advised)
Contains some strong language, mild sexual references and low smoke, haze and flashing lights
Audio & Captioned perf: Sat 30 Oct 2021, 2.30pm
This performance has been rescheduled from Mon 14 – Sat 19 Jun 2021