Last night I went to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Sheffield Crucible and let me tell you everybody will be talking about Jamie for months and years to come! This was the most fun I have had in a theatre for a very very long time! It has a phenomenal cast, a brilliant score written by Dan Gillespie Sells (The Feeling) and a wonderfully hilarious yet touching book written by Tom MacRae (Doctor Who) full of Sheffield-isms! It also has incredible choreography from Kate Prince (ZooNation) like choreography I have never seen before! All of this from a BBC documentary and an idea to put it on stage from director Jonathan Butterell.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie tells the story of Jamie New, based on Jamie Campbell AKA Fifi La True, who decides he wants to go to prom in a dress. It is based on the BBC documentary ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’.
This cast was full of stars. Tamsin Carroll (Miss Saigon, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Strictly Ballroom, Barnum) plays Miss Hedge, the careers teacher of the school. Her characterisation was brilliant although perhaps the character was more of a b**ch than she would really be in life. Although the story seems to be told from Jamie’s point of view and it is likely that this is how she would come across to him. Tamsin’s vocals were brilliant leading the number Work of Art. Every moment she was on stage, we were brought back to the real life.
Luke Baker (Footloose, American Idiot, Bare) plays Dean, the bully of the school, who gets the character spot on. His characterisation was incredible and you could name people in school he could have taken inspiration from. I just wished he got to sing a bit more. He was a slightly wasted talent in the show sadly.
Charles Dale (Wars of the Roses, Winter’s Tale) made a wonderfully supportive and likeable Hugo, retired drag queen Loco Chanel, ably supported by trio of drag queens Raj Ghatak, James Gillan and Spencer Stafford. Spencer also doubled up as Jamie’s Dad who is a small role but important role in the show and creates most of the truly upsetting moments.
Mina Anwar (The Sarah Jane Adventures) plays neighbour Aaliyah ‘Lee’ Begum and she is hilarious in this show! One of the best comic performances in a show I have ever seen! She has a pretty good singing voice leading the very fun song At 16 and the character is the voice of reason Jamie and his mum need in life.
Jamie’s Mum is played by Josie Walker (War Horse, Matilda the Musical) and she is one of the show stealers! Her two main songs He’s My Boy and If I Met Myself Again were truly something else! Her voice is phenomenal! Her characterisation is wonderful! Kirstie Skivington (Side Show, Bend It Like Beckham) and Barney Hudson (Bugsy Malone) need special mentions for If I Met Myself Again for giving some of the best dancing I have ever seen.
There is an insanely talented ensemble featuring Daniel Anthony, Courtney Bowman, Gabrielle Brooks, Kush Khanna, Harriet Payne, Shiv Rabheru, as well as previously mentioned Kirstie and Barney. All danced, sung and especially acted incredibly well!
Lucie Shorthouse (Comedy of Errors, Spring Awakening) stole the show, with Josie, as Pritti, Jamie’s best friend. Her voice was so clear and so powerful! And she was so likeable and exactly like some of my good friends. I couldn’t fault her. Watch out for this girl – she’s got a lot of big stuff coming her way I’m sure!
Now I’m sure you’re wondering about Jamie whom everybody was talking about. Jamie New was played John McCrea (Buskers Opera, Rent, Sound of Music) and he nailed everything about this character. His voice was stunning, he looked perfect in the role, everyone was on his side from the off – everything about him was amazing!
This was such a fun show! I have never left a show with such a huge smile on my face! The audience thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were straight up on their feet at the end!
If you possibly can get to see this show you must go! You will love it!
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie runs at Sheffield Crucible until Saturday 25th February 2017.
Pictures taken from Sheffield Theatres website. Taken by Johan Persson. Copyright infringement not intended.