Wednesday, 22 January 2020

REVIEW: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the original British musical, is still standing strong in the West End. Opening back in 2017 after a hugely successful run in Sheffield, the show launches a UK tour this year alongside a new film adaptation, so it's clear to say this musical is going nowhere! 

Following the story of 16-year-old Jamies New in his quest to become a Drag Queen, he decides to go to prom in a dress however this isn’t received the way he thought it might be. 

The show remains to be one of my personal favourites on the West End; it has heart and passion in it with loads of comedy and lightness to it. It remains tight and fresh as the day it started. 

The show welcomes its new cast in, including the new Jamie, Noah Thomas, who hasn’t even finished drama school yet! He plays the role with a real truthfulness in it, similar to the qualities we saw in original Jamie John Mcrea. He has a naivety and an innocence with confidence that just pulls you in straight away and we really go on the journey with him. It is a finely crafted performance that for any performer, let alone someone still in their third year, is a huge achievement. 

Melissa Jacques takes over as Margret New after understudying the role and boy is she worthy! Much like Noah, she has a subtly in her performance that is so easy to watch, her performance is heartbreaking but with so much love pouring out of her. Melissa’s rendition of ‘He’s My Boy’ should have had a mid-show standing ovation, a true 11’O’Clock performance! Jacques and Thomas are the perfect pair and are easily the stars of this show. 

As Loco Chanelle/Hugo we have the fabulous Bianca Del Rio (Roy Haylock), although his singing skills may not be up to par with the rest of the cast (we all saw that on Drag Race…) he actually sits in the role very comfortably. We watch him as the role, not as Bianca Del Rio on stage. 

Preeya Kalidas takes on the role of Miss Hedge, a role with not a lot of time to make an impact but she really does! Played with a stern and harsh attitude she also finds a lot of lightness in the role. 

Sejal Keshwala remains in the role of Ray, and she is so natural in this part. Her voice is outstanding and is beyond the requirements for this role, so I’d love to see her use those pipes in a future job but within this show she really can show off her comedy skills and there is plenty there! 

Hiba Elchikhe joins the cast as Pritti fresh from playing the title role in Brooklyn, very different to Pritti! She’s very natural in the role and her voice really shines in the show, she has stripped back to a very simple but gorgeous performance and it's a delight to watch. 

I must mention Leon Craig (Sandra Bullock), James Gillan (Tray Sophisticay) and David O’Reilly (Laika Virgin) who don’t have near enough stage time but were some of my top highlights of the night. They all certainly know how to play an audience! 

The ensemble as a whole weren’t the best actors of the company, sometimes lines were thrown and we didn’t catch them as an audience and elements were completely lost. But the dance aspect of their roles were phenomenal. 

Having seen this show quite a few times, I can officially say this show is one of the best on the West End right now and I think this may be the strongest cast Jamie has ever had so get down to the Apollo Theatre and support this wonderful British musical. 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★★★★★

Seat: Dress Circle, D8 | Price of Ticket: £69.50
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