EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE is the definition of a musical that will leave you feeling ‘bloody good’ at the end.
It’s true; everybody is talking about Jamie… they’re talking about how fabulously talented this new cast is as it hits The Lowry’s stage.
Based on the true story of Jamie New, “the boy who learned to fly,” EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE follows his journey to find himself and take the leap from the classroom in Sheffield to the dazzling lights of Drag. It’s based on the 2011 BBC documentary JAMIE: DRAG QUEEN AT 16 and now graces the stage across the UK in a second UK tour.
The young 16-year-old shares his coming-of-age story, and the show is indeed a musical for today. Steered towards a younger audience, millennials and Gen Zs are sure to find some commonalities with the characters, quips and themes. However, the show can be appreciated by all with its joyful tunes, showstopping dance numbers and emotive ballads.
The role of Jamie has been played by some talented names in the past, but Ivano Turco’s Jamie New is of effortless beauty. He sashays across the stage with a silky-smooth confidence, riffing his way into your hearts with his genuine nature and likeable persona.
The character of Jamie could be seen as a difficult one to get right, and the balance must be found between fabulous and cocky in order to get the audience on the right side. Turco gets it so right. He’s believable, raw and authentic, creating a character that is truly engaging and one that the audience can immediately root for. It was very evident he had gained the audience’s support due to the regular whooping and hollering of support for the character throughout.
Although it’s Jamie’s world, we do get to be invited into the world of some of his fellow classmates and family. His best friend and budding doctor, Pritti Pasha, is played by Talia Palamathanan. Talia’s version of ‘It Means Beautiful’ was innocent and delightful, and it’s a joy to see her character grow to the confident young woman who has the audience in stitches at the end as she yells her first swear word!
Shobna Gulati, of Coronation Street fame, reprises her role as the foxy and flamboyant Ray. Rebecca McKinnis plays Margaret New and brings her heart-wrenching rendition of HE’S MY BOY leaving audiences to shed a tear for the journey she takes throughout the song.
Whilst Ivano shines as Jamie, it’s the ensemble around him that really makes this production the fabulously fun spectacle it is. The cast is filled with phenomenal dancers who make the ingenious and modern choreography shine. Packed with lots of voguing and hip-hop influences, the choreography feels fresh and exciting, really giving that energetic and youthful feel throughout.
The musical does rely heavily on its ‘gen z’ stereotyping, adding words such as ‘slay’ and ‘yas’ into general dialogue; do teenagers actually talk like that? However, this is exactly what makes this musical so enjoyable, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Even with the rather deep and important messages the musical holds within, it’s written so cleverly to balance the deep with the humour, bringing that typical northern sarcasm so effortlessly.
It really is a northern show written for northern audiences, so there’s no wonder it truly shines when it lands in this part of the country. However, that’s not to say it cannot be enjoyed by others!
EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE is the definition of a musical that will leave you feeling ‘bloody good’ about yourself at the end. You’ll be humming the songs and be ready to take on the world just as Jamie New did!
EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE runs at The Lowry, Salford, until 17 September 2023
Alison Ruck is a marketing and PR specialist by day. Following many years as a theatre PR, Alison left the arts industry but became a north west reviewer to keep her love of theatre burning bright. She has a degree in Drama & Media, and performs in Amateur dramatics in her spare time.