Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
JOYFUL and dazzling, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has opened at Southampton Mayflower Theatre to thunderous applause.
The show, which runs until Sunday, features a stellar cast led by the remarkable talents of Ivano Turco as Jamie New and Rebecca McKinnis as his devoted mum Margaret.
The hit West End musical is based on the real-life story 16-year-old Jamie New, who bravely reveals to his class his dreams of becoming a drag queen. He has also set his sights on attending his leaver’s prom in a dress.
While many of his classmates, including his best friend Pritti (Talia Palamathanan) are supportive, he also encounters prejudice and bigotry as he embarks on his journey of self-discovery.
Stepping into the sparkly red stilettos, Ivano Turco perfectly captured the two sides of Jamie, as he deviates between extreme vulnerability and cocky confidence. With a superb singing voice combined with incredible moves, he is perfect for the larger-than-life role.
The musical score perfectly mixes high energy full-cast numbers with touching solos, which are brilliantly choreographed throughout. A collaboration between Tom McRae and Jonathan Butterell – with music from lead vocalist of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells – the story feels very relevant to today.
At the heart of the show is Jamie’s beautiful relationship with his mum, who consistently steps up as his greatest supporter, as she does best to shield him from his unaccepting and largely absent father. There is a wonderful chemistry between Turco and McKinnis as his mum, whose wonderful voice is perfectly showcased in her beautiful solo He’s My Boy.
Jamie also finds a champion in the form of dress shop owner and former drag queen Hugo (John Partridge) who becomes and unwavering supporter as he also faces the demons of his past.
Best friend to Jamie’s mum Ray (Shobna Gulati) is another great ally as she shows her willingness to stand up for Jamie as he faces the challenges of school bullies, his absent father, and a careers teacher who thinks Jamie should become a forklift truck driver instead of a drag queen.
School scenes are authentic and up-to-the-minute, with an array of brilliant one-liners that are delivered with perfect comic timing. Career teacher Miss Hedge (Giovanna Fletcher) looks set to be the villain of the story before finally accepting Jamie for who he really is.
Even Jamie’s tormenter Dean (Jordan Ricketts) eventually shows acceptance and as he takes the olive branch that is generously offered to him.
Something About Jamie is a beautiful show with a story of acceptance and being true to yourself at its heart. Authentic and moving, the flawless cast delivered a truly breathtaking production with a huge helping of glitter to brighten the darkest of January nights. See the show that everybody’s talking at Southampton Mayflower Theatre until Sunday. For tickets visit www.mayflower.org.uk