Tuesday, May 28

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Blackpool Winter Gardens welcomes West End hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie as part if it’s UK tour.

Based on the true story of 16-year-old Jamie Campbell, the boy who wanted to go to prom in a dress, Tom Macrae and Dan Gillespie Sells have created a beautiful story with real heart, and songs that make you smile from ear to ear, to ones that have you crying from emotion.

Lead by Ivano Turco as Jamie New, we are treated to a spectacular show, with stunning choreography (Kate Prince), an incredible and multifunctional set and beautiful costumes (Anna Fleischle), and fantastic direction (Matt Ryan and resident director Georgina Hagen).

The story revolves around a group of teens ready to face their GCSEs and the more important after exams event, school prom. This is where we meet Jamie and realise he’s not like everybody else in his class, Jamie wants to be a drag queen and go to prom in a dress.

Turco is sublime as Jamie, with powerhouse vocals, strong dance moves and an incredible way of commanding the audience’s attention with over the top actions to pulling right back and letting the vulnerable side peek through. On a couple of occasions I found Turco was quite softly spoken so found it a little difficult to fully hear what was being said, especially in tenders scenes with Hugo and Margaret.

Supported by his loving Mum, Margaret, played by the wonderful Rebecca McKinnis, the bond between them is so strong and the way McKinnis delivers He’s my Boy is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Photo: Matt Crockett

Shobna Gulati plays family friend Ray as is perfect in the role, with plenty of humour and some killer lines, she is not a character to cross, but she had a huge heart.

Jamie, looking for the perfect dress, comes across a drag shop owned by Hugo/Loco Chanel, played by Darren Day in his opening night in the role. Day has a strong singing voice and fully throws himself into the role. There are a few first night jitters and a couple of stumbled lines but these were recovered very well, and I thoroughly enjoyed his performance.

We meet many other characters throughout this beautiful story including Miss Hedge played by Hayley Tamaddon, school bully Dean played by Jordan Ricketts, Jamie’s best friend Pritti, stunningly portrayed by Talia Palamathana and the wonderful drag Queens at Legs 11. Each and every member of this company are an absolute joy to watch, and you can’t help but feel overjoyed at this show, feel seen and relate in one way or another.

Apart from He’s my Boy, the other stand out part for me comes from Palamathanan, singing It means Beautiful. A gorgeous song delivered with heart and love and including my favourite line “a little bit of glitter in the grey.”

Lighting, designed by Lucy Carter, was incredible for the most, there were a few spotlight issues where characters were occasionally in darkness until the spot caught up with them, but this is only a small detail and is possibly down to first night in a new theatre. The rest of the lighting is fantastic and brings the piece to life. There were a couple of sound issues where microphones didn’t come on at the beginning of lines but overall, the sound levels were good.

I must mention the band, led by Danny Belton, who all sounded incredible and were part of the action at times, on stage cleverly hidden away (most of the time).

Everybody’s talking about Jamie is a glorious musical that will help lift anyone’s spirits and bring some joy to your life, like my favourite line says, a little bit of glitter in the grey.

Running at the Blackpool Winter Gardens until Saturday 25th November 2023 with tickets available at https://www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk/events/everybodys-talking-about-jamie/

Reviewer: Damian Riverol

Reviewed: 21st November 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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