Review: Everybody's Talking about Jamie

4 star rating
Provides a whole lot of glitter and a whole lot of glam. It's exciting, it's different, it's a wonderful show. But it can't be compared to Billy Elliot as so many have tried to do.
Everybody's Talking about Jamie at the Apollo Theatre

Image courtesy Apollo Theatre



Closes: No date available

Author:
Tom MacRae

Composer:
Dan Gillespie Sells

Lyricist:
Tom MacRae

Director:
Jonathan Butterell

Cast:

NOAH THOMAS - Jamie New

MELISSA JACQUES - Margaret New

PREEYA KALIDAS - Miss Hedge

SEJAL KESHWALA - Ray

HIBA ELCHIKHE - Pritti Pasha

ROY HAYLOCK - Hugo

DAVID O'REILLY - Laika Virgin

JAMES GILLAN - Tray Sophisticay

LEON CRAIG - Sandra Bollock

MARLON G. DAY - Jamie's Dad

JORDAN RICKETTS - Dean Paxton

ALEXANDER ARCHER - Mickey

ZION BATTLES - Levi

ZAHRA JONES - Becca

EMILY KENWRIGHT - Vicki

KEENAN KNIGHT - Sayid

JORDAN LAVINIERE - Cy / Understudy Jamie

HARRIET PAYNE - Bex

TILLY LA BELLE YENGO - Fatimah

EBONY CLARKE - Swing / Dance Captain

RACHEL SEIRIAN - Swing

MARVYN CHARLES - Swing

JOE WOLSTENHOLME - Swing

GILLIAN FORD - Understudy Margaret/Miss Hedge/Ray

BRIAN JAMES LEYS - Understudy Jamie's Dad / Drag Queens


Synopsis


Sixteen: the edge of possibility. Time to make your dreams come true.


Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield.


Jamie doesn't quite fit in.


Jamie is terrified about the future.


Jamie is going to be a sensation.


Supported by his brilliant loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight.


Background


Parental discretion advised.


Contains some strong language and mild sexual references.


ActDrop reviews


Rory Proudfoot

Performance date: Wednesday 16 January 2019
Review star rating image

Everybody's Talking About Jamie: it's not the new Billy Elliot!


Despite what I'm about to say, Jamie is a show worth seeing.


It provides a whole lot of glitter and a whole lot of glam.


It's exciting, it's different, it's a wonderful show.


But it can't be compared to Billy Elliot as so many have tried to do.


This is because Billy Elliot is a musical, through and through.


Comparatively, Dan Gillespie Sells did a great job on the music and I personally see this success that he achieved with Jamie as a sign for amazing things to come, but you can tell he has only just left the pop industry, clear as day.


In most of the great musicals the music has a very subtle change in style.


Each song is an element in telling the story that is there to be told.


The vast 10 minute number of 'Solidarity' was a hard hitting and glorious moment in Billy but simply can't work as a stand alone piece.


It's too long and without the base of the story it carries in leaps and bounds, it has no reason to exist.


On the other hand, Jamie's songs seem to take a very specific moment, takes the emotions, feelings and ideas and turns them into a song.


This is often similar to a pop song that clearly is still part of the way Gillespie Sells' brain works after all the years of work in the industry.


This means that the songs work intuitively as stand alone pieces but they don't carry the performance.


The story isn't advanced by the songs.


Just perhaps a little enhanced which should be achieved anyway.


Then you may ask me, what can you compare Jamie to?


My answer is Bat out Hell the Musical.


Obviously plot, themes and story are incredibly different but purely in terms of the music they share some things.


They are both pop songs that are woven into the fabric of the piece.


They both use music more as a highlight than a plot device.


Annoyingly, at times the songs feel a little too much, too pop-esque.


But just like Jamie, Bat out of Hell is fantastic, an idol for what can be achieved with pre-written music.


Just Jamie sets a new marker for dealing with social issues within a musical that can still feel alive, interest kids and brighten even the best of days.


With the plot it is easy to make comparisons to Billy.


Boy, though bigotry and bullying, finds himself in a wildly different role than is expected of him.


But I don't think we should base our opinion on theatre on loose plot similarities.


If we did every sitcom is the same and every soap identical to the others.


Everything will have its quirks and differences and at the heart of it, that's what Jamie is all about.



ActDrop listing for Apollo Theatre
Our show listing for Everybody's Talking about Jamie
Read our reviews' policy

Book tickets for ...


Buy tickets for To Kill a Mockingbird at the Gielgud Theatre