I remember the announcement of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie hitting the West End. Whilst I hadn’t heard much about it’s Sheffield try out (other than it being a sell out), I knew I was going to have to see it at some point. When I popped to London one casual Wednesday afternoon a couple of weeks ago to go to the Bat Out Of Hell Press Launch, I entered a ton of Today Tix lotteries (use my code CMXVT to get £10 off your first order) which I unfortunately didn’t win. However, for entering the Everybody’s Talking About Jamie lottery that day, I was entitled to £29.50 tickets in a seat which often goes for almost three times that amount. A real steal! I took the opportunity to see the show that has everybody falling in love from a fantastic seat, rather than my usual view from the upper circle.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is based on the life of Jamie Campbell, a boy from Durham who always knew he was different. So much so that he pitched a documentary idea and became the subject: the boy who went to prom in a dress. In this production, Jamie New is a 16 year boy from Sheffield who must learn to step over the line to be his true self.
Like Eugenius at the start of March, this is another musical I went into blind. I knew that Jamie was different, and obviously into drag. I knew that it was set in Sheffield. And I knew that it got some great write ups. But like Eugenius, I found the hype to be more than it deserved. To start with, I thought turning this story into a musical was highly unneccesary. I understand why people are under the impression that it works, but the songs are honestly just a little distracting from the story. There were a couple of really catchy songs, with the opening numbers for each act sticking out to me, and there’s a real tear-jerker from Jamie’s mum in the second act that was beautifully sung, but the music didn’t add to the story. Which sounds ridiculous coming from me because I don’t need much of an excuse to see a musical.
For me, it was the comedy that outshone everything. The way that Jamie is so quick witted with his responses to everyone who tries to put him down is brilliant, and it’s refreshing to have such a strong male lead in not such a stereotypically strong role. I laughed incredibly hard at the sarcasm and all the roles were acted brilliantly.
There are three questions remaining in regards to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie for anybody who wants to give me an answer. 1) What happened to Dean post-show? He was a horrible character, but I sort of got a bit of a soft spot for him. 2) Can Ray be my best friend? And 3) How on Earth did John McCrea dance in those crazy high stilletos? I’m pretty sure I tripped over just trying to get to my seat in the stalls!
If you’re looking for a new British musical to sink your teeth into, then this will probably fill the criteria (especially if you want to see a couple of drag numbers in the show, because why not). I love that so many actors have had the chance to originate a role as their West End debut, and that we’ve been introduced to so many upcoming stars of the West End stage. This is pretty rare, especially in main roles, and is definitely a breath of fresh air that London theatre has been craving.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is nominated for 5 Olivier Awards including Best Actor In A Musical, Best Actress In A Musical and Best New Musical, and is currently booking until October 2018.