Everybody’s talking about Jamie. Everybody’s talking about Jamie in Milton Keynes Theatre. Everybody’s talking about how fabulous this show is.
The show is set on a council estate in Sheffield and Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. His best friend tries to understand him but honestly, he feels different. He knows he is different. He lives with his mum who supports him with help from her best friend Ray. But even his mum’s love cannot help him decide on his future. This show is based on a true story and tells the story of one boy’s dream to be a drag queen.
Layton Williams is an absolute star. He completely nails it as Jamie and gives an exceptional performance. He is witty, sharp and yet Layton shows that vulnerable side to Jamie too. Layton is so much more than a triple threat…even I couldn’t walk in those ridiculously high heels so Layton can add yet another talent to his CV. Shane Richie plays Hugo. If there was ever a role made for Shane, this is it. Who knew he had an inner drag queen in him waiting to be released? When Loco is on stage, Shane even has a southern American drool. Shane gives a fantastic performance and is instantly likeable in the role but I have always found Shane likeable.
Sasha Latoya plays Ray and Sasha gets a lot of the great lines in the show. She is so funny with her cheap chocolate and her Beyonce lippy (if Beyonce shopped at Aldi). You love her from the start as she has heart. Sasha plays Ray as a strong character who isn’t worried about what others think of her. If she could bottle that we would all benefit from being a little more Ray. Lara Denning as Miss Hedge and is a typical teacher. She is trying to be caring but still has to be strong. You know Lara is doing a great job as I didn’t like Miss Hedge. Why would a teacher humiliate a student by making them walk around the school with bad eyebrows? Why would one parent complaint stop Jamie coming to his prom in a dress? Sadly, Miss Hedge is typical of many teachers and although we hope they have progressed to be more inclusive, I think there are still many issues with the authoritarianism of schools. On the other side of the coin, Sharan Phull as Pritti who is Jamie’s best friend. She is shy and Muslim and doesn’t really understand standing out or make up but wants to support her friend as best she can.
If I could name check the whole cast, I would. They are all exceptional talents and bring life to this amazing story. The show is not always an easy watch. Jamie’s relationship with his dad is heartbreaking. But not only is this a true story, but anyone who was watched any episode of Ru Paul’s drag race knows that many parents cannot accept their children if they are different and find it especially hard to accept them as drag queens. Jamie’s mum tries to compensate, even writing birthday cards to try to avoid hurting her son. Amy Ellen Richardson plays his mum, Margaret and her rendition of ‘He’s my boy’ had me weeping and was greeted with huge appreciation from the audience. Everyone felt Amy’s emotions and that is the sign of a great actor when they connect like that.
The songs are great and with modern day classics such as And You Don’t Even Know It, He’s My Boy, Out Of The Darkness (A Place Where We Belong) and Everybody’s Talking ‘bout Jamie, you will be humming them on your way home.
What makes this show a must see is that through adversity, comes hope, love and compassion. And with those on your side you can be anything you want to be…including a drag queen.
Everybody’s talking about Jamie is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 23 April 2022.