Everybody's Talking About Jamie (3 stars)

This article is from 2020

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

credit: Johan Perrson

One boy's journey to drag queendom and beyond

In the first scene of Everybody's Talking About Jamie, the titular character's careers counsellor asks what Jamie wants to be when he leaves school. Half of his classmates have no idea, but Jamie's difficulty is that he does know: yet in the conservative town of Sheffield, his drag queen aspirations are hard to reconcile.

What follows is an at times touching, often funny exploration of identity, individuality and self-acceptance that is at its best joyous and at its worst schmaltzy. It is perhaps a given that a musical about a young, queer boy searching for tolerance will be deeply heartfelt, but Everybody's Talking About Jamie veers a few too many times into pat one-liners and easy happy endings that don't quite connect with the complex but life-affirming subject. The songs similarly don't do the work they could do, although the opening number and eponymous song are riotously catchy.

Where Everybody's Talking About Jamie gets top marks is in its cast, who are infectiously energetic and committed to every step, note and emotional beat. Special mention goes to Layton Williams, who is pitch perfect as the intrepid, vulnerable and deeply fabulous Jamie. It's when the unearned sentimentality is swapped for sharp dynamism that Everybody's Talking About Jamie finds its voice.

Reviewed at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. Currently touring.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

  • Directed by: Jonathan Butterell
  • Written by: Tom MacRae (lyrics), Dan Gillespie Sells (music)

A coming-of-age story with a twist, with catchy new songs by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling Dan Gillespie Sells and writer Tom MacRae.

Apollo Theatre, London W1D

Thu 20 May

Prices to be confirmed / 0844 482 9671

Fri 21 May

Prices to be confirmed / 0844 482 9671

Sat 22 May

Prices to be confirmed / 0844 482 9671

…and 85 more dates until 29 Aug

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen

Tue 9 Nov

£19–£56 (£27–£44) / 01224 641122

Wed 10 Nov

£19–£56 (£27–£44) / 01224 641122

Thu 11 Nov

£19–£56 (£27–£44) / 01224 641122

…and 2 more dates until 13 Nov

The Lowry, Salford

Tue 31 Aug

£30–£46 (Children £26.95–£39) / 08432 086000

Wed 1 Sep

£30–£46 (Children £26.95–£39) / 08432 086000

Thu 2 Sep

£30–£46 (Children £26.95–£39) / 08432 086000

…and 9 more dates until 12 Sep

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