‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,’ in case you haven’t heard by now, is the heartwarming story of Jamie – a young man from Sheffield who is different from the other kids in his class. When his teacher asks her students what they want to be when they grow up, one says doctor, another says lawyer, while Jamie says that he wants to be a drag queen! Supported by him mother and her best friend, along with some of his best mates, who all happen to be girls, Jamie’s dream may eventually come true! But first he has to overcome prejudice, as well as the school bully (and also an unloving father who has practically disowned him), to be able to be who he wants to be!
‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ opened to critical acclaim at the Sheffield Crucible in 2017, and has been playing to practically sold out audiences for exactly one year at London’s Apollo Theatre in the West End. It’s a heartwarming and enduring story that’s actually true. It’s based on the life of Jamie New – who appeared in a 2011 BBC documentary called ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16.’ With Music by The Feeling’s Dan Gillespie Sells, and Books and Lyrics by Tom MacRae, everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ is touching, but at the same time manufactured in the way ‘Kinky Boots’ is (we all know how it is going to end). John McCrea is brilliant as Jamie – he really works the stage in those high heals! And he’s a dead ringer for the real Jamie! Rebecca McKinnis is great as Jamie’s mom Margaret, and she does get a show-stopper or two (‘He’s my Boy’ may bring a tear to your eye). In a bit of stunt casting, Michelle Visage is the teacher, but it’s Shobna Gulati who plays, and is fierce, as Margaret’s best friend, and one of Jamie’s staunchest supporters.
It’s a feel-good show with a feel-good message, and isn’t that we all need right now!
Review by Tim Baros