Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre – 90% Out Of 100

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a joyfully rambunctious, piece of musical theatre.

Having garnered several awards in its previous run, the new cast of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is lead by Layton Williams (Billy Elliot; Beautiful People); a flamboyant and gentle newly turned 16-year-old who is trying like any teenager to navigate sexuality and personal identity. Jamie attends Mayfield secondary school Ms. Hedge is his rather traditional and out of touch teacher, along with some classmates, having little understanding of queerness or gender fluidity, Jamie is feeling confined.

Born to be drag artist, a meeting with Hugo, a dress shop owner, and drag night host, changes everything. Hugo becomes the father figure and mentor Jamie never had. Played brilliantly by prime time favorite Shane Ritchie (currently Alfie Moon in EastEnders), Hugo reminisces about a colourful past in tandem with Jamie trying to find his inner diva and a future filled with authenticity.

There is hilarity and heartbreak along the way and Williams has this wonderful way of acting and dancing in an ensemble as well as filling the stage for solo numbers. The comedy in the writing, the turns of phrase throughout are perfectly passionate and punchy. The dynamic between Williams and Sabrina Sandhu as best friend Pritti Pasha is tender and heartwarming. Sandhu has a magical singing voice – her solo, explaining that Jamie’s name in Arabic would be Jamil, ‘It Means Beautiful” is one of the standout numbers of the night.

Based on the documentary, ‘Jamie Drag Queen At 16’, both of the ‘real’ Jamie’s parents are white, so the musical was blind cast which is welcomed. However, there is some discomfort with the father being stereotypically absent, homophobic and Black. Even with that necessary criticism I thoroughly enjoyed the show and will not only be talking about Jamie but would quite happily vibe to the recording (music by Dan Gillespie) and plan to read the play script (Tom MaCrae).

With a fierce and fabulous lead, a great cast, outstanding set, brilliant live band, toe-tapping songs, memorable one liners, in a story that modernises the musical formula. ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie‘ is not only inspired it’s inspirational.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is currently showing at the Apollo Theatre. Find out more and book your tickets here.


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