See Tickets


REVIEW: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Sunderland Empire


Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Sunderland Empire 

Until Saturday 23 September 2023

Everybody's Talking About Jamie has arrived in Wearside this week. As the posters say - it is a really funny show that is not afraid to stand out from the pack when it needs to. A great cast deliver a highly timely story. 

This musical is a coming-of-age stage musical with music by Dan Gillespie Sells and book and lyrics by Tom MacRae. It looks at the final days at school for Jamie New - performed by the fabulous Ivano Turco. Starting with year 11 careers lesson delivered by Miss Hedge (Hayley Tamaddon) and finishing with the prom. 

Jamie wants to be a drag queen but his teacher points out that hardly anyone leaves school to be a performer or a footballer - and his online profile on the careers software has matched him up as a fork lift driver. Jamie is determined and he is support by his school friend Pritti (Talia Palamathanan) and his mother Margaret (Rebecaa McKinnis). 

In his journey Jamie meets up with fashion retailer/ex-drag queen Hugo (John Partridge) who mentors him. Of course the path does not run smooth and school bully Dean (Jordan Ricketts) struggles to coup with the diversity that he finds himself with. Likewise his absent Dad (Akshay St Clair) features amongst the issues as he fails to attend Jamie's birthday celebrations.

The show has its own truth as it based upon a true story - it was adapted from the BBC Three documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 by Jenny Popplewell. That level of authenticity helps the audience invest in the characters.

The only niggle was having a single teacher, who seemed to have an awful lot of different roles at the school (I appreciate that it is a play and characters can represent a number of real life people). 

The show has regular displays of vibrant choreography from Kate Prince. Such action by the talented ensemble kept up the energy levels in the show and it is amazing how fast the 2 hours 40 minutes seemed to fly by. Director Matt Ryan has kept a tight hold on the action to keep it flowing.

There is a live band on a level above the stage, under musical director Danny Belton, and they appear occasionally. Most of the time sees blind being lowered and projections from lighting designer Lucy Carter and video designer Luke Halls help set up the scene.

There were many great vocal performances throughout the show. Rebecca McKinnis with If I Met Myself Again, Talia Palamathanan with It Means Beautiful and John Partridge with The Legend Of Loco Chanelle were notable. Ivano Turco, though, steals the show with every song that he is involved in - and there are number of those. 

This is the first time that I have seen the show and I had only heard good things from those who had seen the show. Now that I have seen it I totally appreciate the shows popularity. It is one of the best "new" musicals that I have seen recently. The standing ovation represented a genuine appreciation for a great show. 

Review: Stephen Oliver

Photo: Matt Crockett


Music by Dan Gillespie Sells

Book and Lyrics by Tom MacRae

From an idea by Jonathan Butterell

Directed by Matt Ryan from original direction by Jonathan Butterell

Design by Anna Fleischle

Choreography by Kate Prince

Lighting design by Lucy Carter

Sound design by Paul Groothuis

Video Design Luke Halls

Casting by Will Burton

Musical Supervisor Theo Jamieson 


On the web:

Twitter: @JamieMusical #JamieTour

Facebook and Instagram: Jamie Musical


Everybody’s Talking About Jamie appears at Sunderland Empire from  Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 September 2023

Tickets: From £13 - JAMIE ATG TICKETS LINK

*A £3.65 transaction fee applies to online bookings.

Jowheretogo Podcast- The Northeast Culture Show :

Previews and reviews of live music, comedy, theatre & more in Northeast England. New music, old music and a bit of what we fancy! Find out what's on in Northeast England: With Jo ; Northeast Music Guide , and Steve : Northeast Theatre Guide

Available now on Spotify

Podcast link:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.