The iconic Everybody’s Talking About Jamie sashayed back to Wales Millennium Centre as part of its new UK Tour complete with both a new cast and veterans of the show. Jamie, the award-winning, feel-good musical is based on the real-life BBC documentary, Jamie: Drag Queen At 16 which tells the story of Jamie (Ivano Turco) whose dream it is to become a drag queen, much to the despair of his careers teacher, Miss Hedge (Hayley Tamaddon) and fellow students. Along his journey we are introduced to his support group including his mum, Margaret (Rebecca McKinnis), family friend Ray (Shobna Gulati), and best friend, Pritti (Talia Palamathanan).
Turco is fresh off the West End after starring most recently in Get Up! Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical and making his professional debut in the now infamous Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella. Although new to the role of Jamie and with some big heels to fill from Layton Williams, this does not stop him from making his mark. From the get-go, he exudes confidence and is, quite simply, a triple threat. With stylistic runs, dynamic dance moves and a more innocent portrayal of Jamie than we’re used to, Turco leads the cast to triumph.
Returning to the production – I can’t imagine the show without her at this point – is Shobna Gulati. This is a role that although has some hilarious one-liners, needs somebody who knows how to land a punchline and boy does Gulati excel! Her epic timing and facial expressions set up the joke before the audience knows it’s coming.
Palamathanan beautifully portrays Pritti with impressive, angelic vocals during It Means Beautiful and is the support that every teenager needs. Taking on the role of the legendary drag queen, Loco Chanelle, who becomes Jamie’s mentor in the form of Hugo is John Partridge for this venue on the tour. Partridge, like in other productions he has been in, has a commanding stage presence which excels in his interpretation of Loco but manages to bring a softness to his scenes as Hugo.
Creatively, this production is a replica of the musical which has taken the world by storm with direction by Jonathan Butterell.
Kate Prince’s choreography is slick and gives members of the ensemble time to shine during dance breaks and scene changes. A standout moment was the interpretive dance during If I Met Myself Again, combined with the raw, impeccable vocals of McKinnis, the scene comes to life and will remain in the memory forever. Book and lyrics by Tom Macrae are already iconic in the musical theatre world with a mix of beautiful ballads and catchy showstoppers that have a habit of sticking in your mind long after leaving the theatre.
Anna Fleischle is responsible for the set and costume design which, although remain unchanged, work for this show and won’t feel dated long into the future. I loved the change to Jamie’s hairstyle to be more representative of Turco outside ofthe role. Stunning.
Jamie is a show that will continue to impress. Although LGBTQ+ people are more accepted into society, there will always be people wanting to dull their spotlight. Jamiemanages to show the effects of this from all angles and hopefully have not only everybody talking about Jamie, but continue the discussion of acceptance to everybody.
Jamie continues to tour around the UK for the remainder of 2023 and until Summer 2024. Tickets can be booked for each venue here including details of who will be starring as Loco Chanelle and Miss Hedge at your respective venue.
AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review