Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: Apollo Theatre, London
Reviewed 15th November 2017 (preview performance)
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a brand new British musical by a new British theatre writing and directing team; something rarely seen in a major West End theatre. The production has just transferred from a fantastically received run in Sheffield. The new musical featuring catchy new songs by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling Dan Gillespie Sells and a superb plot by writer Tom MacRae tells the story of Jamie. A sixteen year old boy who doesn’t quite fit in. Supported by his mother and close friends he sets out to overcome the bullies, prejudice and obstacles in his way and step into the spotlight.
With a tagline of ‘Sixteen: the edge of possibility. Time to make your dreams come true.’ and being inspired by the Firecracker documentary “JAMIE: DRAG QUEEN AT 16” audiences can be sure of a contemporary twist on a fairytale story. Already winning several awards including BEST MUSICAL PERFORMANCE and BEST MUSICAL at the UK Theatre Awards this fresh production seems like a real contender to be a sure-fire hit on the West End stage.
John McCrea embodies the character of Jamie New perfectly. His performance as the outwardly confident 16 year old wannabe drag queen is fantastic. Always in character, flamboyant yet still believable ‘Wall in my Head’ showing off Jamie’s vulnerable side was performed with such conviction and had the audience captivated. Throughout the show John McCrea was a joy to watch. Whilst some of the one-liners in the show sometimes fell slightly flat John’s comic timing and sarcastic comments always got the audience laughing. John McCrea certainly knows how to own a stage – a definite actor to watch.
Amongst the talented cast, Josie Walker gave an outstanding performance as Margaret (Jamie’s mum). Thoroughly believable in role and the song ‘He’s My Boy’ had the audience in her hands completely. A pin could be heard and the emotion displayed through the song was amazing. Phil Nichol, Hugo, holds his own on the stage and his relationship with Jamie as his ‘mentor’ develops and flourishes throughout the show. Lucie Storthouse, who played Jamie’s best friend Pritti, has a gorgeous tone to her voice. ‘It Means Beautiful’ was cleverly staged, with projections and lighting effects, but it was Lucie’s dynamic voice that truly made this song stand out.
The score throughout the show was catchy, modern and fresh. Despite being Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae’s first musical venture the music they have created felt right on the stage and will appeal to a wide range of theatre goers. There is a clear mix of genres and styles; something to interest and entertain everyone.
Kate Prince’s distinctive choreography worked brilliantly to enhance the show. Modern, fresh and slick dance moves were performed effortlessly and the contemporary dance sequence during ‘If I Met Myself Again’ was just exquisite.
The interesting modular set was modern and worked well to create the different locations of the show. Some of the set changes did feel slightly long and wobbly but this was a preview performance and this was only one minor technical issue. The use of lighting further enhanced the show and the projections were effective; although they sometimes could have been more vivid.
Overall this new British musical is a marvel. A truly uplifting story about being yourself and being accepted – no matter what. The audience certainly went away smiling and wanting more. For a fresh, contemporary take on a fairytale Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a must see!
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is showing at the Apollo Theatre, London until 21st April 2018. For more information visit the official website: http://www.everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk
For further information and tickets see London Box Office Website at https://www.londonboxoffice.co.uk
Photo Credit: Johan Persson