Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
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.
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