Writer & Lyrics: Tom Macrae
Director and Co-Writer: Jonathan Butterell
Music: Dan Gillespie Sells
Regular sell-out nights, a live broadcast and screening in cinemas across the World and a planned film adaptation in the works. All of this and it’s only been running in London for 11 months! it’s clear that there’s a massive hype about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie but does it live up to the hype?
Based on a documentary about Jamie Campbell and his quest to go to prom in Drag, it charts the hurdles he had to come to truly accept and be proud of who he is no matter what his own father and some classmates think. The witty script by Tom Macrae is like a gritty drama in itself. Sure, Jamie may get his happy ended but this is no fairytale. The connection between the characters, the challenges faced, the at points repulsive bullying all joins up to create an exceptionally real and relevant story.
Interjoined throughout are script is a variety the musical numbers. Macrae and Dan Gillespie Sells came together to create a variety of songs reflecting the characters who sing them. For Jamie, distinct pop music that ranges from upbeat numbers with the rest of the cast to the more emotive heartfelt song Wall in My Head which exposes his inner troubles despite his strong personality that he shows the world. For Margaret, his mum there’s a far more soulful sound. He’s my Boy performed by Rebecca McKinnis was outstanding. The raw emotion engulfed the audience including a large number of tissue clutching mothers. It’s a very special moment to witness and appreciate.
John McCrea plays the part well as Jamie New. Fabulous and spirited yet multi-layered. McCrea’s epic comedic timing makes Jamie New the fierce persona you’d expect him to be.
Joining the cast recently is Michelle Visage as Jamie’s teacher Miss Hedge. Visage contains the frosty characteristics of Miss Hedge well and puts on a great performance of Work Of Art. However, Visage’s Sheffield accent does need some work as the blending out of it made some of her speech a bit clunky.
This is a stunning lionhearted musical full of relevant and real characters with an upbeat score. The layers of emotion will reminisce with all who see it no matter your own personal story. The story of friendship, community, the bond between a mother and her son and above all being yourself sparkles throughout to the very end. This musical’s relevance can’t be understated and deserves every piece of the hype it has.