Social Media

Everybody's Talking About Jamie - Theatre Royal Nottingham 2023 Review

Reviewed by Mark Johnson
Disclaimer: tickets were gifted in return for an honest review.


It's been over 6 years since Everybody's Talking About Jamie premiered at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and now the musical is hitting the road for a second UK and Ireland tour.

Ivano Turco (Jamie New) and the company. Photo by Matt Crockett

The musical is based on the real-life story of Jamie Campbell who aged 16 dreamt of becoming a drag queen and attending his school prom in a dress. Campbell's story inspired a BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 as Jamie overcomes prejudice and bullying to fulfill his dreams.

The uplifting musical is superbly written and doesn't shy away from the highs and lows faced by the characters, particularly that of Jamie as Tom MacRae and Jonathan Butterell's script draws you into the heart and soul of the characters. All of whom are so well-written and rounded. 

Ivano Turco dons the heels as Jamie New, and it is truly inspired casting. Turco perfectly nails every beat of the character. He blossoms from a slightly shy yet proud teen who battles off judgement from his classmates and becomes the brightest light of them all. Turco's crisp vocals and fabulous movement also impress, his flexibility and confidence oozes out in every step.

Rebecca McKinnis gives a touching performance as Jamie's mum Margaret. She steps up as Jamie's Dad, commandingly played by Akshay St Clair, remains out of the picture as he doesn't accept any of Jamie's behaviour. The second-act number 'He's My Boy' is a real showstopping moment and is beautifully performed. Shobna Gulati is a delight throughout as Ray, she is staunchly loyal to both Margaret and Jamie and wickedly funny with a great eye for comedic delivery.

John Partridge (Hugo & Loco) & Finton Flynn (Young Loco). Photo by Matt Crockett.

Another loyal friend for Jamie comes from Talia Palamathanan's Pritti, who stands by his side throughout. Palamathanan is lovely to watch and packs a punch vocally with another stand-out second-act solo of 'It Means Beautiful'. In the complete opposite, Jordan Ricketts does a fine job as school bully Dean. Hayley Tamaddon as school tutor Miss Hedge remains opposed to Jamie's career plans and his idea for wearing a dress to the prom throughout, Tamaddon clearly relishes the role.

John Partridge is a marvel as Hugo, owner of a drag shop and better known as drag act Loco Chanelle. Partridge captures the character with real skill, building the journey of the role through song in the number 'The Legend of Loco Chanelle (and The Blood Red Dress)' and wowing himself in drag in 'Over The Top'. Partridge is supported excellently by a trio of drag companions Anthony Gyde (Ky Kelly) as Laika Virgin, Garry Lee as Sandra Bollock and David McNair as Tray Sophisticay.

The whole production is visually pleasing to the eye. Kate Prince's fabulous choreography is full of flair and precise movement that the company all impresses in performing. Anna Fleischle's design uses the space excellently moving the piece from school classroom to Jamie and Margaret's home and a variety of locations throughout with Lucy Carter's lighting and Luke Halls' video design further helping to move locations whilst evoking emotions and feeling.

The score by MacRae and Dan Gillespie Sells is full of upbeat poppy numbers that will have you humming as you leave the theatre but also contains those more heartfelt solos that pack a punch of emotion. The 7-piece band under musical director Danny Belton creates a great sound. On that sound though, a few lines are lost in accents or delivery which could be slightly cleaner.

The tagline on the programme proclaims the show as 'the hit musical for today' and that sentiment runs true, it's a sparkling delight that will uplift your soul. With slight updates to the script this production is current, relevant and heartfelt. The closing 'Out Of The Darkness (A Place Where We Belong)' is truly euphoric joy. Everyone will be talking about Jamie for a lot longer yet.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie plays at Nottingham's Theatre Royal until Saturday 30th September 2023 with very limited tickets remaining from The tour continues with dates booking until Summer 2024. Find tour dates and booking information from

The Everybody's Talking About Jamie Company. Photo by Matt Crockett.

Post a Comment


Theme by STS