Theatre

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie At Liverpool Empire Review

TICKETS TO SEE THE SHOW WERE GIFTED TO THE REVIEWER AND GUEST FOR THE PURPOSES OF WRITING THE REVIEW.

Reviewed by Kim Bickerdike

Review of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Liverpool Empire
24th November 2021

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and so they should be! This show provides 160 minutes of pure entertainment, from upbeat, catchy, memorable musical numbers to a hilarious script acted out perfectly by a bunch of incredibly talented actors and is a musical not to be missed.

Set in Sheffield in 2011, Jamie New (played by Layton Williams) has big dreams of becoming a drag queen, yet his school and some of the local community aren’t ready to take Jamie’s dream seriously. His career teacher thinks he needs to rethink his future career and focus on something more appropriate like becoming a forklift truck driver or prison guard! Jamie, however, will not be deterred and knows exactly who he is and who he is going to be. With the support from his mum Margaret (played by Amy Ellen Richardson) his mums hilariously crude but fiercely loyal friend Ray (played by Shobna Gulati) and his best friend Pritti Pasha (played by Sharan Phull) Jamie is determined to make his dreams come true. For his birthday Jamie’s mum gifts him a brand new pair of eye wateringly high, red stilettos and he knows this is who he is meant to be.

Jamie wants to attend his school prom as his true self so needs to find a dress to go with his new shoes. He heads to the local drag queen shop ‘Victor’s Secret’ where he meets Hugo (played by Roy Haylock, but more famously known as Bianca Del Rio from Season 6 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race). Hugo regales Jamie with his tales of being the worlds most famous and fabulous drag queen Loco Chanelle and encourages Jamie to take part in his first ever drag queen show to help Jamie build his confidence, work on his craft and more importantly decide on the perfect name for his drag queen persona.

The following day at school, the whole of Year 11 are talking about Jamie and how he wowed them at the drag show. However, following a complaint made by one of the parents, Jamie and his mum accompanied by Ray are called into school to tell Jamie that he isn’t allowed to attend the school prom in drag and has to ‘keep it real’ by wearing shirt and trousers. This leads Jamie to have a crisis of confidence and starts to question himself as he feels like the local weirdo. This feeling is heightened further when he speaks to his Dad, who makes it clear to Jamie that he doesn’t support him dressing up as a girl. There are some really touching scenes in the second act between Jamie and his mum and Pritti when they try to convince him that he is wonderfully unique and must continue to be himself and follow his dreams.

The finale of this show is absolutely fantastic. Jamie turns up to the prom as instructed by the school ‘as himself’ decked in prom dress and shoes. All his classmates were fully supportive of Jamie’s decision and were all cheered on by the theatre audience. The show ends in a full ensemble musical and dance number with Jamie stealing the show as he did throughout, by singing, dancing and high kicking his way through the performance. The audience were on their feet, dancing, cheering, and clapping their way through until the final curtain call.

If I could give this show more than 5 stars, I would. The whole cast performed brilliantly, from the opening scene to the finale the message of acceptance, truth, friendship, and tolerance is told in a funny, endearing, and meaningful way. Each song is pitch perfect and I particularly enjoyed the solo performances given by Pritti Pahsa. This quiet, unassuming character certainly knows how to belt out her vocals but my overall favourite was, of course, Jamie. Layton Williams truly embodied this character and looked like he was having the best time on stage. He really was a joy to watch.

I had a smile on my face from start to finish, ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ is a fantastic, feel-good show with an important message delivered in a hilarious and enchanting way, and I encourage everyone to go and see it.

Rating: 5 Stars (5/5)

This show is showing at Liverpool Empire until Saturday 27th November. Tickets start from £13 and are available from https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/everybodys-talking-about-jamie/liverpool-empire/

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