Kieran A Wilson Review

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Review

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,

**** 4 Star

” this musical is a must see event”

Inspired by the 2011 television documentary ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’, Everybody’s Talking about Jamie is the life-affirming musical telling the story of Jamie New, who wishes to attend his high school prom in full drag, as a outward statement of his inner self. Following an award winning transfer to the west end, a production which is still running, this year see’s the show receive its first ever UK Tour!

The musical plunges into the story of the 16 year old from Sheffield who dreams of becoming a drag queen; his emotional journey as he overcomes bullying and the prejudices he faces. With a strong cast of performers – many who have transferred straight from the West End cast – the show sparks life and energy throughout, although this is somewhat lacklustre in the first half from Leyton Williams, in the starring role of Jamie New.

Whilst Williams has gorgeous vocals and stand out dance moves, his energy lacks a little in both scene and song throughout the first act. However, his energy levels magnified dramatically in Act Two of the performance; matching those around him. Unfortunately, his overly fast rate of speech and lack of diction continued throughout both Acts, making it a challenge to understand his dialogue at points.

The role of Jamie’s mother, Margaret New, is played by the impeccable Amy Ellen Richardson, who’s stand out performance shone from the second she graced the stage. Her truly heart wrenching performance of ‘He’s My Boy’ shows real emotional connection to text, with impeccable vocals that could take easily her straight to Broadway.

Shobna Gulati is incredibly relatable in the role of Ray, playing both comedy and heartfelt emotion perfectly throughout the show. Alongside the strong principle cast; George Samson proves that he is more than just a dancer in his powerful portrayal of Dean, the story’s villain. The part of Pritti Pasha is fulfilled by Sharan Phull; who stuns the audience with her gorgeous voice in her warming rendition of ‘It Means Beautiful’.

Surprisingly, Shane Richie’s flawless acting and impressive vocals place him as the true star of the show, as he portrays the role of Hugo; allowing him to transcend into drag superstar Loco Chantelle. With a stunning transformation, the incredible Costume team’s work is evident in these scenes.

The set and props throughout the show are flawless, with scene changes carried out seamlessly and innovatively. Directors Jonathan Butterell (Original Director) and Matt Ryan (Tour Director) ensure the stage is always full of life and Kate Prince entices the audience with creative, modern and visually stunning choreography.

In summary, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie keeps the audience engaged with toe-tapping musical numbers, emotionally charged vocal performances and a cast of very talented individuals. With such a strong cast and a story that inspires many, this musical is a must see event for all ages.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Festival Theatre, Runs until Saturday 7th March for tickets go to:

Tour Visits Glasgow later in the year.

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