Joyous is the overriding word that constantly comes to mind throughout this fabulous ensemble musical. Beloved of so many who have returned multiple times in the West End to immerse themselves in such beautiful vibes, the show has now reached Brighton and the Theatre Royal on its second regional tour.
It’s based on the true story of Jamie Campbell who at aged 15 decided he wanted to go to his school prom in a dress and become a drag queen. From the inspiration of a BBC documentary in 2011 made by Firecracker to a West End musical in 2017 is a rapid journey with as much belief and enthusiasm from all involved as Jamie had for his dream. Tom Macrae, Jonathan Butterell and Dan Gillespie Sells spun a down to earth fairy tale of a musical made real by director Matt Ryan, subsequent performers, choreographers, designers and a hefty team of supporting crew.
Ivano Turco is delightful and has spoken about how close Jamie New is to his true self which firstly made creating the character easier but secondly to an audience he shines with energy and truth on Anna Fleischle’s endlessly creative stage set. Hayley Tamaddon’s Miss Hedge attempts, in her strong performance, to control the wayward Jamie and his fellow students. Not even her belter of a voice achieves her ends!
This is as I said a strongly ensemble piece but for me, I was floored by Rebecca McKinnis as Jamie’s mum Margaret. Her vocal delivery in her songs was superb and the often heart-breaking truth within was astonishing and more than ably supported by Shobna Gulati’s perfectly pitched, charming Ray.
Talia Palamathanan as Pritti Pasha also shone brightly vocally and in her friendship with Jamie. John Partridge was a total powerhouse throughout the show as Hugo and Loco Chanelle whose encouragement enables Jamie to fulfil his dream. As did the utterly splendid drag artists played with such heart by Garry Lee/Sandra Bollock, Ky Kelly/Laika Virgin and David McNair/Tray Sophisticay.
The evening came to a close with a well-deserved standing ovation. As we walked out into torrential rain and a dark, chilly night we were surrounded by smiling faces and warmed by the feel-good experience of ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’. I fully recommend this as respite from these dark times in which we’re living.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Theatre Royal Brighton until Saturday 11th November, 2023.
Tickets : https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/everybodys-talking-about-jamie/theatre-royal-brighton/?&&gclid=CjwKCAjw7oeqBhBwEiwALyHLM-TfBnXxfPfMV1SqWzhcMrnzY_1eSnbU8SodSk4X7WT7KE4J-sU1whoCEKsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds