Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE, New Wimbledon Theatre

The vibrant touring production of the true story of a teenage drag queen still fizzes with energy

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Everybody's Talking About JamieBack in 2017, few could have imagined the success of a show about a teenage drag queen. Ever since it blasted its way onto the stage in 2017, Everybody's Talking About Jamie has been a sensation here and as far away as Japan. Now on a nationwide tour, the true-life story of a 16-year-old wannabe drag queen is still as entertaining and relevant as ever.

Taking over from Layton Williams for some performances, Adam Taylor takes a while to warm up as Jamie. For the first part of the opening act, his voice sounds rather weak at points and his dance moves are not as sharp as they could be. However, he develops into a vibrant Jamie. He makes the character lovable and very believable; from self-absorbed teenage strops, to showing a sassy attitude, hiding his feelings of being deeply ugly.

Amy Ellen Richardson is the real heart of the show as Margaret, Jamie's mother. Jamie feels both her love and reassurance; his queerness is never a problem, but his difference is to be celebrated. Richardson's voice has a lovely clarity and her rendition of "He's My Boy" is a standout; growing in tenderness and heartfelt emotion as it progresses.

There is strong support with Sasha Latoya as a very witty Ray, Lara Denning as a world-weary Miss Hedge, and Sharan Phull as an incredibly assured and intelligent Pritti. Phull's version of "It Means Beautiful" is wonderfully compassionate and warm.

The bad guys of the show remain underused pantomime villains; Cameron Johnson is suitably horrible as Jamie's dad and George Sampson is truly nasty as school bully Dean Paxton, but both roles would benefit from being less one-dimensional.

Shane Richie is the star draw as shop owner and drag queen Hugo/Loco Chanelle. Richie needs stronger stage presence as Chanelle, but shows nuance as Hugo; displaying the character's internal anxiety and quiet, underlying kindness.

Lyricist Tom MacRae and composer Dan Gillespie Sells' soundtrack may now be familiar to crowds of musical theatre fans, but it is reassuring to see that the score still hits the mark with fun, frothy and incredibly catchy tracks, such as the opening "And You Don't Even Know It". It also retains a deeply emotional core, tugging on the heartstrings with the beautiful ballads. However, on press night, the volume needed to be turned up to appreciate the snappy lines from the ensemble.

Tour director Matt Ryan has made some subtle updates to the production. The Covid-related comedy is well-pitched and there are some clever asides about Meghan Markle and Kim Kardashian.

The show retains a joyful energy with Kate Prince's sharp choreography; the diverse emsemble is lithe and dynamic and there are snappy and exuberant performances. Anna Fleischle's clever design allows the scenes to morph seamlessly and has not been compromised for the tour.

This is not a perfect version of this brilliant musical, but it is still a joy to watch a production about love, identity and acceptance that never feels melodramatic or preachy.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is at New Wimbledon Theatre until 9 April, then touring

Photo Credit: Johan Persson

Related Stories

From This Author - Aliya Al-Hassan

Aliya Al-Hassan is UK Managing Editor of BroadwayWorld. A London-based theatre critic and journalist, she has a life-long passion for the arts, with a focus on theatre and opera. She is a... (read more about this author)

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Think of James Graham's BEST OF ENEMIES?Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Think of James Graham's BEST OF ENEMIES?
November 29, 2022

James Graham's Best Of Enemies is now open at the Noel Coward Theatre, having transferred from the Young Vic. The play is set in 1968 and follows the fight for the American Presidency between the cunningly conservative William F. Buckley Jr., and the iconoclastic liberal Gore Vidal, played by David Harewood and Zachary Quinto. The play received rave reviews at The Young Vic, but what did the critics think of the revival?

Black Friday: Save up to 50% on PARADISE NOW! at the Bush TheatreBlack Friday: Save up to 50% on PARADISE NOW! at the Bush Theatre
November 28, 2022

Ready to change your life? Start your journey to greatness and join the biggest pack of girlbosses and SHE-ros you’ll ever meet with Paradise!  Black Friday: Save up to 50% on Paradise Now!

Interview: Neil Bartlett on the Writing Process, Gender Identity and Adapting ORLANDO for the StageInterview: Neil Bartlett on the Writing Process, Gender Identity and Adapting ORLANDO for the Stage
November 25, 2022

Adapted by Neil Bartlett, starring Golden Globe winner Emma Corrin and directed by Tony and Olivier winner Michael Grandage, the early-awaited stage version of Orlando is about to start previews. BroadwayWorld caught up with Neil ahead of opening night on 5 December to talk about the writing process, gender identity and the magic of language.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama Announces Spring 2023 Events
November 25, 2022

This spring, Guildhall School of Music & Drama presents a varied programme of events for the public to enjoy, including concerts, drama productions, opera and jazz.

Black Friday: Save up to 38% on THE WIFE OF WILLESDENBlack Friday: Save up to 38% on THE WIFE OF WILLESDEN
November 25, 2022

Save up to 38% on The Wife Of Willesden. After a sold-out, critically acclaimed run in 2021, Alvita, The Wife of Willesden returns for one more round at the bar.