REVIEW: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at The Alexandra, Birmingham

After being forced to close its doors 533 days ago, the critically acclaimed hit musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has finally arrived at The Alexandra in Birmingham.

AD: Press night / gifted tickets

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Hailed by critics after making its debut at the Crucible in Sheffield in 2017, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is based on the true story of Jamie Campbell, a 16-year-old teenager from County Durham, who had big dreams of becoming a drag queen.

Inspired by the BBC documentary, Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has since become one of the most talked-about shows in the world of theatre. The show initially opened with a three-week run at the Crucible to sold-out audiences, before it was given its golden ticket to open at The Apollo Theatre.

The Company of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Credit: Matt Crockett

Three years down the line, the show continues to delight audiences in London and has finally managed to kick off its highly anticipated UK tour, which was forced to close at The Alexandra when the first lockdown hit last year before the audience even had a chance to step through the doors. But Jamie is back, stiletto heels and all, and there’s a reason why it’s a show that’s on everyone’s watchlist. After all, word of mouth is a powerful thing.

Layton Williams reprises his role as the vibrant Jamie New, with the remaining cast comprising of Shane Richie as Hugo / Loco Chanelle; Coronation Street star Shobna Gulati steps into the shoes of Ray, joined by Amy Ellen Richardson as Margaret New, and Britain’s Got Talent winner, George Sampson as Dean Paxton.

Williams has already made a name for himself as Jamie in the West End. At 27, he fits the role perfectly, effortlessly strutting around the stage in stilettos while seamlessly delivering epic choreography alongside high-energy vocals. Not forgetting that his comedic yet charming timing is absolutely impeccable.

Shane Richie as Hugo / Loco Chanelle in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie UK Tour. Credit: Matt Crockett

Equally, Richardson gives an unforgettable and powerful performance as Margaret. Her vocals are utterly outstanding, each song packed with so much emotion that it’s incredibly difficult not to find yourself welling up, especially in the powerful number, He’s My Boy. For me, though, Sharan Phull, who gives an incredible performance as Jamie’s best friend, Pritti Pasah. Her character is warm and caring, but it’s in Act Two that she really gets her chance to shine with her heart-filled performance of It Means Beautiful, which received huge applause from the audience.

There’s so much to love about this show, it’s bold, packed with fun and you leave the theatre with a mighty spring in your step. The soundtrack will linger in your mind as you find yourself tapping your feet and humming long after you’ve left the auditorium, but what carries this show throughout is its heart and bravery. It pushes boundaries of making you look at yourself and the way that you treat others, whilst remaining filled with colour, fun, passion and so much love.

Layton Williams and Amy Ellen Richardson in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Credit: Matt Crockett

Williams’ character lives his life without shame, he challenges those who try to knock him down, he injects life and passion into everyone he meets; he’s showing teenagers who might find themselves struggling with identifying who they are that it’s ok to just be yourself. That, and for so many other reasons, is why I can see everybody continuing to talk about Jamie for a very long time.

An absolutely dazzling production that will have you smiling from ear to ear, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie runs at The Alexandra in Birmingham until Saturday, September 18, 2021. To book your tickets, click here. Or for more details on the show including future tour dates, click here.

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