Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – UK Tour Review.
Brought to life by the talented Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom Macrae, the outrageously funny and inspiring hit musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, has made its way to the Liverpool Empire Theatre.
The premise of the story is about a 16 year old boy who goes on a journey of discovery to pursue a dream of becoming a drag queen, and the troublesome implications of the character Jamie trying to navigate his way through a constant battle of set backs when all he really wants is to be accepted for who he really is.
There are many distinct themes highlighted throughout the show such as, inclusion, acceptance, family, friendships and support and the audience are taken on an emotional rollercoaster throughout.
What really makes this story stand-out is the fact that it is based upon real life encounters and real happenings of County Durham born Jamie Campbell. Jamie knew that he was different from a very young age, but it wasn’t until a documentary crew captured his unique journey, that his life changed forever and his story was shared people all over the country and became the hit musical that is it today.
The production wasn’t short of standout performances from a wonderfully diverse and inclusive cast, with a character for everyone to relate to in some form. It soon became apparent that each of the characters were struggling with their battles and on their own individual journey. Although the story was centred around Jamie, we saw how his relationships with those around him played an essential part in impacting his own story, and vice versa.
Layton Williams captured the true essence of Jamie, with his bold spirt and resilient attitude, and it was clear that he had the audience rooting for him from the beginning. It was refreshing to see an unapologetic effeminate representation of a person from the LGBTQ+ community, become the character at the centre of the story and depicted as a true hero and inspiration.
A nice addition to the cast, was, Roy Haylock / Bianca Del Rio, famous for starring on the popular RuPaul’s Drag Race. Audience members were thrilled to welcome the larger than life and highly comical drag queen to the Liverpool stage, and they did not disappoint, playing Jamie’s trusted mentor and drag ultra ego, Loco Chanelle.
Another recognisable appearance, was that of Britain’s Got Talent winner, George Sampson, who played the antagonising enemy to Jamie and ruthless character, Dean Paxton. As expected, his dance moves enthused the audience alongside the rest of the ensemble who were incredibly skilled and brought to life the big dance numbers.
Margaret, Jamie’s mum, played by the talented Amy Ellen Richardson, was brilliant throughout. Her emotional range was incredibly diverse and encapsulated the heartwarming relationship between a mother and her son. Particularly breathtaking, was the song ‘He’s my boy’ sang by Margaret, where her emotional and vocal range was truly captivating and received a huge applause from the audience.
Pritti Pasha played by Sharan Phull, perfectly portrayed the unbreakable friendship between her and Jamie which felt believable and charming to the audience. Additionally, her comic timing was perfect and her voice was ﬂawless!
Another notable performance was from best know as, Coronation Street actress, Shobna Gulati, playing mums best friend, and Jamie’s ‘adopted’ protective aunt, Ray. Her character was not short of crude and witty one-liners and she probably provided the most laughs for the audience, an essential character to provide the necessary comic relief and shift in pace, in contrast to some of the more drawn-out or emotional scenes.
As well as a whole host of talented cast members, the staging in the production was cleverly organised. Sets were effortlessly transformed throughout the show, and the use of projection to portray Jamie’s fantasies was a clever accompaniment. Another interesting addition to the production was that the band made an occasional appearance from behind perspex glass, which was elevated by a platform at the back of the stage. It was almost as if they were embedded and part of the backdrop, it provided a clever and unique stage design.
Overall the show was highly entertaining, full of many catchy song numbers and most importantly, contains a powerful and relevant message of acceptance and embracing diversities, it really does represent a feel good show!
Due to some of the language choices (mostly from the wonderful but unﬁltered character, Ray) I would recommend this show PG-13.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is showing at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, Tuesday 23rd- Saturday 27th November 2021.
Overall rating- 4 Stars