London Theatre Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre
| By Kay Johal
(Updated on Feb 28, 2020)
Tom Macrae and Dan Gillespie’s musical inspired by a teenage boy with a passion for drag is joyful, witty, and bold. Full of youthful energy and some truly powerful performances, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie holds its own in a city dominated with an influx of new exciting musicals and beloved classics.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: A Little Bit of Glitter in the Grey
The musical follows 16-year-old Jamie New — the sassy, sweet, and pink-sock-clad dreamer with ambitions to be a drag queen. We watch as Jamie steps out of the darkness and into the spotlight with the help of his friends and (simply wonderful) mother and despite all the familial struggles and bullying.
This is a show fuelled by the energy and strength of its cast. However, it would be amiss not to mention in brief how impressively versatile the set is, and how spot-on Anna Fleischle’s costumes were. The set involves clever uses of revolves and artful deskwork (facilitating some glorious spontaneous catwalk moments). The prom outfits worn by the students at the end of the show were particularly perfect for their respective characters. Fleischle clearly understands teenagers.
How did Noah Thomas and Bianca Del Rio fare in the West End Jamie cast?
Noah Thomas gives a strong performance as the titular character. He moves with just the right amount of sass. There’s an inherent likability to his performance which is so essential to the audience’s enjoyment of the show; if we don’t fall in love with Jamie, if we don’t feel his vulnerability and empathise with his struggles, particularly regarding his father, then the musical really could not be saved. Something I particularly enjoyed in Thomas’ acting was how he never took the role too far; Jamie is meant to be entertaining and a bit of a diva, but it’s crucial this doesn’t dominate the character’s personality.
Roy Haylock gave a stellar performance as Hugo. For those who are fans of Haylock’s drag alter-ego Bianca Del Rio, Haylock does not disappoint. Haylock’s sense of comedic timing is impeccable, and he has great chemistry with Thomas.
Melissa Jacques was a knock-out. Jacques played Jamie’s mother, Margaret New, with sincerity and poise. Jacques gives a master-class in top-notch acting; how to craft a role with impeccable realism. ‘He’s My Boy’ built to such a level of raw emotion that I highly doubt there was a dry eye in the house.
Another stand-out performance was that of Hiba Elchikhe as Pritti Pasha. For her West-End debut, Elchikhe has demonstrated she is more than at home at The Apollo. Her vocals were the strongest of the cast. Her phrasing in "It Means Beautiful" was perfect. Elchikhe performed with such ease and it was a true pleasure to watch.
A special mention should go to Jordan Ricketts as Dean Paxton. His reconciliation with Jamie at the end is nicely done, and I must say, Ricketts is a master of threatening silences.
The final verdict... ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The choice to open the show with a bang, having the auditorium lights snap to darkness and the stage come alive with the same urgency, was exciting and powerful. I would certainly recommend going to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. It is fun, sweet, and it's quirky in the best way. Catch the show at the Apollo Theatre and be prepared to immediately crave a pair of those signature, cherry-red stilettos.
Everybody's Talking About Jamie Apollo Theatre tickets available from £22!
Now is your last chance to see Bianca Del Rio as Loco Chanelle! The famous RuPaul's Drag Race winner will complete her run on 29 February 2020 and be replaced by Rufus Hound! Book your tickets sharpish to see her whilst you can!