Stage review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie - Sheffield Crucible

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is on in Sheffield this month. (Credit: Johan Persson).Everybody's Talking About Jamie is on in Sheffield this month. (Credit: Johan Persson).
Everybody's Talking About Jamie is on in Sheffield this month. (Credit: Johan Persson).
It’s been quite the three years for this show that has been talked about ever since it premiered at the Sheffield Crucible on February 13, 2017.

Back then I wrote in The Yorkshire Post that the show would transfer to the West End.

I maintain a 100 percent record with those calls, but I couldn’t have predicted just how successful the show would become. A movie is on the way, it’s won a bucketload of awards and now it’s back on home turf to launch a national tour.

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Stage review: Black Waters, Leeds PlayhouseStepping into the very impressive red high heels for this tour is Layton Williams as Jamie New, the 16-year-old boy who wants to be a drag queen and wants to go to his prom in a dress.

In the three years since the premiere, this has become much more of an ensemble show. It’s still about the boy in the dress, but it seems to have gained a deeper and maybe even more widely relevant message about acceptance.

Williams initially seems to lack some of the vulnerability of his predecessor in the role, John McCrae. He’s bold and seemingly invincible from the get go, although his performance finds nuance as the show goes on.

We follow Jamie on his journey as he meets a drag queen mentor who helps him find his fabulous first footsteps in the world of drag. As Loco Chanelle, aka Hugo, Shane Ritchie demonstrates enormous stagecraft. Within a couple of lines he’s pulled laughs from the audience with expert comic timing.

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Tom MacRae on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and how it changed his lifeJamie’s mum Margaret, played by Amy Ellen Richardson has two absolutely stand out moments with the songs If I Met Myself Again and He’s My Boy, more than a little reminiscent of Blood Brothers’ Tell Me It’s Not True, a comparison I make to underline that this is a musical as significant to today’s theatre scene as Blood Brothers was in its time.

I spent the last ten minutes of this joyous, moving production with tears streaming down my face.

It’s a story of today, a story about being different and finding your way in the world and it’s a story that is going to maintain its power for years to come.

To February 29.