Tuesday, June 25

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – The Lowry

Since 2017, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has opened up minds and hearts with an extended West End run, feature film adaptation and now a second UK tour. Inspired by the documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, this feel-good musical tells the story of a secondary school leaver who decides to live out his fantasy of being a performer by attending prom in a dress.

The legend of Jamie New (Ivano Turco) is spangled with playful physical comedy, sassy put-downs and hysterical punchlines, all courtesy of Tom MacRae’s snappy book and lyrics. Music by Dan Gillespie Sells provides a seriously catchy soundtrack of pop bops and moving solos for Jamie’s relevant- and turbulent- journey to self-expression.

And You Don’t Even Know It’ is a tone-setting party anthem of an opening number that sees our daydreaming hero transport himself from classroom to catwalk. Best friend Pritti Pasha (Talia Palamathanan) encourages Jamie to be who he wants to be in the soothing yet empowering song ‘Spotlight’, while ‘He’s My Boy’ is a vehement showstopper from his ever-supportive mother Margaret (Rebecca McKinnis).

As Jamie, Turco confidently embodies the fascinated boy gearing up to expose his passion for drag. He expresses all feelings from insecurity to tenacity, dismay to high-heeled joy through slick moves and speech as well as a candied voice akin to John McCrea, the original Jamie New.

Shobna Gulati has the audience creasing as outspoken family-friend Ray: her unerring comedic timing achieves big laughs about knock-off market chocolate and men on the dating scene. She ensures that Ray’s moments of hot-headedness don’t go unmissed with a booming demeanour…especially when it comes to people taking issue with Jamie!

It’s welcome to see talent from the local drag scene in the form of Anthony Gyde/KY Kelly owning the role of Laika Virgin with attention-grabbing exuberance. Both Kate Prince’s energetic, fast-paced choreography and Anna Fleischle’s radiant outfits further contribute to the entire cast symbolising the themes of friendship, family and acceptance.

Fine-tuned direction from Matt Ryan allows for good pacing, as do the inventive, versatile sets that enable seamless transitions from one location to the next.

There can never be enough perpetual applause for this flawless celebration of defiance, dedication and drag. It’s lit!

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie continues at The Lowry in Salford until 17th September with tickets available from https://thelowry.com/whats-on/everybodys-talking-about-jamie-2/#book

Reviewer: Scot Cunningham

Reviewed: 12th September 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.