Monday, April 22

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Wolverhampton Grand

Everybody’s Talking About Finton!

Rarely do you get the chance to witness an understudy triumph in a role, but tonight at the Grand was once such moment. Finton Flynn slipped into the title role with big heels to fill which he did with aplomb. A joyous, buoyant comic performance tempered with a well judged dash of poignancy made this performance in equal parts outstanding and endearing. He exploded with assured confidence and squeezed every drop out of line and every lyric. Certainly, a performer to look out for.

Elsewhere Rebecca McGinnis more than held her own as Jamie’s long-suffering mother nailing a beautiful ballad in act two. She forms a great comic partnership with Shobna Gulati whose comic heritage is well-known. And Talia Palamathanan is a total delight as Priti and nails one line with such precision it brings a well-earned cheer from the audience. John Partridge as the supportive mentor Hugo and their alto-ego Loco Chanelle (a name I suspect is a nod to Manchester Drag legend Foo Foo Lamar) provides a vital fulcrum around which all these madness pivots.

Photo: Matt Crockett

It’s about identity, it’s about class, it’s about friendship and it’s about truth and with a creative team like Dan Gillespie Sells. Tom Macrae and Jonathan Buttered in charge it’s easy to see why this had been a long running success. Matt Ryan’s fluid direction coupled with Lucy Carter’s crisp lighting design and Paul Groothus’s clear sound made for a vibrantly exciting and engaging night. And surrounded by a audience of all ages it certainly holds a wide appeal. Also in the mix was Anna Fleischle’s multi-forming set with some ingenious use of school’s desks and a video design by Luke Hall which subtly underpinned with entire look.

“Jamie: Drag Queen at 16” was the documentary it was based on, and the traces of truth still resonate 13 years after it was first broadcast and the real Jamie is now knocking on 30 – but like all good drag queens is forever 21!

The ensemble forms a talented group of triple threaters each of whose personalities shine in their solo moments, but it was Finton’s night and one, judging from the look on well-mascaraed face, he’ll remember for a very long time. And so will we!

Playing until 27th January,

Reviewer: Peter Kinnock

Reviewed: 23rd January 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.