Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: colourful musical bonanza
This article was commissioned by The Upcoming, where it appeared for the first time.
After two years on Shaftesbury Avenue, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has already made itself known as a colourful and joyous musical bonanza. This review won’t just reconfirm its status – still a dashing performance through the third main cast change – but lavish plaudits on the fun. The show has enough glittery sparkle to beat the toughest of January – and all year round – blues.
Jamie New (Noah Thomas) is a sixteen-year-old with a big dream: to become a drag queen. His life path, though, looks too flamboyant for the small city of Sheffield, and even his father (Marlon G. Day) is repulsed by such a decision. However, with the support of his mother (Melissa Jacques), his best friend Pritti Pasha (Hiba Elchikhe) and legendary queen Loco Chanelle (Bianca Del Rio), the fabulous Mimi Mi will gradually turn the heads and win the hearts of Jamie’s school and beyond.
A lighthearted production with its high-school vibes, the story is charged with important themes of acceptance, bullying, and identity. Cheerful and empowered, the audience was electrified by the end of the show. Waves of euphoria from the liberating attitude of the protagonist, the clear and uncensored language of teenagers and the upbeat music, invade the auditorium.
The costumes and choreography definitely play the winning cards. The smooth movements, with flowing and symmetric figures mastered by the Year 11 students, are hypnotizing. While the beginning is not the most striking part – except for the uplifting opening And You Don’t Even Know it – as the plot rolls on, the vocals reveal a narrative vibrant and touching at the same time. Spotlight and He’s My Boy are wonderful solo moments, the resonant singing of Elchikhe and Jacques reaching new peaks of sound.
The challenges are many for Jamie New, and not only due to the prejudices of his school class. Particular influence is wielded by his close family members. The tender relationship between mother and son is likely to cause some tears among the theatregoers, while Sejal Keshwala, as the outspoken Ray, is the perfect humorous supporter.
It’s no wonder why everybody is talking about Jamie. Laughter enriches this heartfelt production, that shines with lively choruses and bright staging.