The Shoe Must Go On: ‘Jamie’ at Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Image courtesy of Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Image courtesy of Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From: 26 Apr 2022

To: 30 Apr 2022

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
282 Hope St
Glasgow & the Clyde Valley
G2 3QA

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Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a coming-of-age stage musical with music by Dan Gillespie Sells and book and lyrics by Tom MacRae. The show is a celebration of individuality and drag culture. Inspired by the 2011 British television documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 directed by Jenny Popplewell is a colourful, funny but at times heart-wrenching story. Based on a true-life story, the show follows 16-year-old teenage schoolboy Jamie Campbell, as he overcomes prejudice and bullying to step out of the darkness and become a drag queen. 

The ensemble in the show is truly impressive with Layton Williams as Jamie in the lead role. Williams has a sparkle in his eye and delivers humorous and more serious lines with effortless grace. He adds an emotional undercurrent that works perfectly with the jokes and flash of the show. His incredible dance skills and the ability to strut around the stage owning it in shoes so high that many would fail to take a step in are a true highlight of the show. Williams owns the stage every time he steps out and it’s impossible to look away. 

Image courtesy of Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Image courtesy of Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Amy Ellen Richardson, who plays Marget, Jamie’s biggest fan and supporter, absolutely steals the show vocally and becomes the beating heart of the show. She gives an impressive performance that will have you tearing up and cheering Jamie on. Her version of He’s My Boy is truly breathtaking and incredibly touching (remember to have tissues at hand!). Richardson’s fierce presence on stage and in Jamie’s life is another highlight of the show overall. 

Sharan Phull as Pritti Pasha, Jamie’s best friend is arguably the most likeable of all the characters in the show. Pritti dreams and works hard to become a doctor and is funny and affecting while she accompanies Jamie on his adventures. However, George Sampson who plays Dean Paxton delivers a very believable and ‘evil’ performance as the school bully. Lara Denning truly succeeds as Miss Hedge, arguably the most annoying character in the whole show. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is an ensemble musical and the casting of supporting roles is particularly strong. 

The final elements of what makes this show so fantastic (and arguably the main attraction) are the drag queens. These characters offer humour and heart in equal measure as they welcome Jamie with open arms, full of quirky wisdom. Shane Richie in particular moves effortlessly between his role as Huge and Loco Chanelle. 

Image courtesy of Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Image courtesy of Theatre Royal, Glasgow

This production combines video projections, seamless scene changes, and a live band situated above the stage, all adding a sense of frantic energy so often associated with the life of a teenager. The show has some truly great songs and fantastic performances; don’t miss it.

With grateful thanks to Joanna Zukowska for this review. 

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