Everbody’s Talking About Jamie

This time last year we went to see the musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre. Based on a true story, there’s a documentary film following a 16 year old schoolboy Jamie as he overcomes bullying and prejudice to become a drag queen.

And there is a film out too. I haven’t seen the film yet, just the musical. I’ve seen quite a few lately, and this is probably the most British one of the ones I’ve seen.

It has a working class setting about an underdog. Whilst men cross-dressing as women is quite popular in British theatre, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie presents this in a more modern and progressive way. Definitely a crowd pleaser and likely to stay on the West End for a while, it will be touring around the UK from September.

Performance

The musical was boisterous and there is a talented young cast. When we went to see this musical, Layton Williams played Jamie and Shane Ritchie played Hugo/ Loco Chanelle – both were really entertaining and fun to watch.

There were some big voices too, the singer who played the mum had some really belting ballads, and the singer who played the friend Pritti also had a strong voice.

Surprisingly, I found the musical had a lot more dialogue than I expected. The opening scene had quite a bit of speaking before the first musical number – maybe I’m too used to watching musicals where the singing starts straight away. The humorous banter between the teenagers was funny though.

Definitely more modern than the musicals I’ve seen recently. I recall one scene where the mother is singing about her past and two young actors come on stage playing out the past, and then start dancing a modern version of ballet I believe.

Stage/ props

There was a good use of set: there was a classroom where the teenagers danced on the tables and a kitchen – an actual working kitchen.

I saw real water pouring into mugs and real tea bags for cups of tea. I recall even some butter and jam spread on toast – I guess they were going for realism – though I don’t recall the actor taking a bite of the toast.

Themes

I loved the character development of Jamie, coming to terms with showing his true self, letting people know that it’s ok to be who you are.

There were of course some feels; overcoming bigotry, bullying, and prejudice. I loved the message of not letting others put you down – you do you.

There was a standing ovation at the end and a big singing number with everyone all together, getting the audience on their feet – it was really good fun.

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