At the age of 16, not many school kids know what they want to do with their lives and careers. In the microcosm of the classroom, teenage dreams wax and wane as students struggle to find their identity while being pressed into making decisions about their future without all the facts.
For one boy, this was not the case. He knew what he wanted to do from a very young age and his ultimate goal, to be a drag queen, was no secret. Jamie Campbell is the subject of a new musical which tells his story of wanting to go to prom in a dress. The story was made into a documentary after Jamie wrote to a production company about his story, and it caught the imagination of co-writer and director Jonathan Butterell.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a fun, joyous celebration of what it is to be true to yourself, to follow your dreams and your heart. You may suffer some setbacks, some heartache along the way but the destination is worth the journey. What Jamie (played by John McCrea) encapsulates and what resonates with the audience is everything people wished they were at 16 and perhaps even now. Not in terms of cross-dressing but in terms of exuding confidence, understanding their selves and having a great capacity to forgive. He is the part of us that wished we had told the careers teacher to shut up, to answer back to the school bully, he is the witty retort we thought of after we walked away, he is, perhaps, the side of ourselves many only see after one too many.
Behind all the fabulous, the glamour and the bravado is a pain in Jamie’s life. His relationship with his father is troubled, to put it mildly, and he is hurt by the language directed at him by his own father.
Everybody's Talking About Jamie is running at the Apollo of Shaftesbury Avenue after Nica Burns saw it in Sheffield and decided on the spot to bring it to London. Perhaps she saw something of herself in Jamie as I’m sure will everyone who sees the show.
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