Everybody’s Talking About Jamie ★★★★ Sadler's Wells Peacock Theatre | Feb 8 - Mar 23, 2024

Jamie is back and he's as fabulous as ever! In the first song of the show, "And You Don't Even Know It," Ivano Turco, as Jamie New, announces "I've got the dreams, I've got the style, I've got the moves to make you smile." He then goes on to prove it in a laughter-filled show that is a celebration of the courage to be yourself in the face of a world demanding conformity. Jamie's challenge is clear when his career-test results suggest he should be a truck driver while his dream is to be a drag queen. In the face of adolescent homophobia and a father who thinks he is disgusting, Jamie builds on the support of his mother (Rebecca McKinnis) and his friend Pritti (Talia Palamathanan) to become the star he aspires to be. Tom Macrae has provided a strong book and clever lyrics for the show that explores the complexities of Jamie's situation and also manages to create fully-rounded characters. He shows the limitations of adolescent Jamie's worldview, astutely compares it to Pritti's circumstances, and even gives us a peak into the life of Jamie's teacher, Miss Hedge (Giovanna Fletcher), showing her to be more than simply a cardboard bureaucrat. The standout moments of the show were McKinnis' ballad, "If I Met Myself Again," and her absolutely amazing rendition of "He's My Boy." We also loved Palamathanan's poignant delivery of "It Means Beautiful." An issue for Turco with his songs was the enunciation. His voice is compelling, but the words were often lost. We also need to note Shobna Gulati's pitch-perfect performance in the role of Ray, and John Partridge's superb turn as Jamie's mentor Hugo and his inspiration Loco Chanelle. Now that Jamie's back in London, don't miss your chance to join him as he comes "Out of the darkness, Into the spotlight."

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Matt Crockett

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