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  • Marika Page

★★★★★ Everybody’s Talking About Jamie | Theatre Review

Ivano Turco (Jamie New) and cast. Photo: Matt Crockett.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to attend last Friday's evening performance of Everybody's Talking About Jamie at the Lyceum, and it was an absolute blast!

This acclaimed musical, which originated in Sheffield, has gone global having opened internationally in places such as the USA, South Korea and Japan. This truly special coming of age story is one of a kind and teaches acceptance, tolerance and to live your most authentic self.

With its vibrant score by Dan Gillespie Sells and compelling book and lyrics by Tom MacRae, Everybody's Talking About Jamie draws inspiration from the 2011 television documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, about sixteen-year-old Jamie Campbell who wanted to become a drag queen. The musical chronicles the journey of Jamie, who confronts prejudice and bullying to embrace his identity and live as his unapologetic self, ultimately stepping into the spotlight with resilience and strength.

The cast. Photo: Matt Crockett.

The current UK touring cast of Everybody's Talking About Jamie are simply amazing. Ivano Turco shines brightly in the role of Jamie New, exuding captivating energy and delivering a performance that is nothing short of a tour de force. His singing, dancing, and comedic timing are impeccable, consistently leaving the audience grinning from ear to ear whenever he graces the stage. Turco is an absolute star.

Rebecca McKinnis delivers a captivating performance as Jamie's mother, Margaret New, particularly during her rendition of "He's My Boy," where her powerful voice and raw emotion held the audience spellbound. Kevin Clifton shines as Hugo/Loco Chanelle, commanding the stage, especially in the poignant and powerful number "Over The Top," alongside the Tray Sophisticay (David McNair), Sandra Bollock (Garry Lee) and Laika Virgin (Anthony Gyde aka KY Kelly). This scene, where they give Jamie confidence in preparing for his first show, stands out as one of my favorites for its emotional depth and resonance.

The musicians and the ensemble truly make the heart of the show, and they were phenomenal as well.

The staging and use of space are executed with excellence. From props gracefully dropping from the ceiling to projections on both stage and screens, and the nostalgic glow of fluorescent lighting, every detail adds to the experience. The on-stage sets, including Jamie's home and Margaret's kitchen, are particularly impressive, adding depth and authenticity to the production.

Ivano Turco (Jamie New) and Talia Palamathanan (Pritti). Photo: Matt Crockett.

This musical holds a cherished spot in Sheffield's heart, as it premiered in the city in 2017 and its storyline unfolds against the backdrop of Sheffield itself. The cast's clever incorporation of the city's beloved landmarks, like the iconic 'Meadowhell', as dubbed by the character Ray (Sejal Keshwal) to uproarious laughter, and Jamie's humorous disdain for snooker (given the annual World Snooker Championships at the nearby Crucible beginning this week) added an extra layer of joy to the musical's homecoming in the Steel City.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a poignant and significant musical that champions acceptance, shining a spotlight on anti-bullying and the importance of embracing one's uniqueness. It is both a joyful and powerful reminder to always stay true to oneself. This phenomenal production should not be missed.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is playing at the Lyceum until Saturday 20th April.


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