Reviewed by Nikki Cotter
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
If you’re looking for a post pandemic pick-me-up then look no further, get yourself down to The Lowry and immerse yourself in this heart-warming gem of a show.
After debuting at Sheffield’s crucible theatre in 2017 the West End beckoned for the inspiring story of Jamie New, a 16 year old boy with dragtastic plans in life.
Based on the true story of Jamie Campbell and inspired by the BBC3 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 the show delves into the life of Jamie New; on the surface fearless and fabulous, underneath sensitive and scarred, but always true to himself.
Layton Williams returns to the role after playing Jamie in the West End and absolutely shines. His sass and sarcasm ensuring every brilliantly witty line lands while his vulnerability leaves you yearning for him to succeed.
Amy Ellen Richardson brings grit and soul to Jamie’s Mum, Margaret; her 2nd half delivery of He’s My Boy left me with more than a lump in my throat & thankful I’d packed the tissues; absolutely stunning.
Jamie’s relationship with Margaret, a strong, determined, single mum lies at the very heart of the piece and shapes the story beautifully. Williams and Richardson convince entirely; the ease in which they share the stage together illustrates the fiercely unconditional love between mother and son to perfection.
Shobna Gulati as Ray, Margaret’s best friend and often substitute parent for Jamie is fantastic, bringing humour and iconic Northern female strength to the role she’s as loyal as they come and as much family as any blood relative.
Shane Ritchie acts as Drag Mother Hugo/Loco Chanel bringing depth to the role as the former drag queen with their own multi-layered story to tell, a cheerleader to Jamie and instant hit with the audience. Another important cheerleader in Jamie’s life is best friend Pritti portrayed wonderfully by Sharan Phull. Her calm resilience and loving encouragement are incredibly touching.
The themes of inclusivity and individuality are delivered with true authenticity. There’s nothing gimmicky about this show, the story feels real and truly heartfelt. While the slick ensemble numbers thrill, with the excellent ensemble showcasing Kate Prince’s choreography superbly it’s the quieter moments that draw you in, ensuring you’re #TeamJamie from the start.
The journey school bully Dean (George Sampson) goes on isn’t brash or obvious but one of a new understanding through education and removal of fear.
Like many of us, theatre makers have had an incredibly difficult time during the pandemic but seeing a show as joyful and uplifting as this reminds you just how affecting and inspiring theatre can be.
Packed full of witty one liners, superb songs & stunning choreography Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a life-affirming celebration. An absolute must-see bursting with joy and heart.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is on at The Lowry until Sunday 12th September tickets available https://thelowry.com/whats-on/everybodys-talking-about-jamie/