Everybody’s talking about Jamie- one of the biggest hits currently in the west end! This show has surprised everyone with its runaway success, with sold out shows every night we decided to find out why Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
This award winning show is based on the 2011 BBC3 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen At 16- the story of Jamie Campbell, a 16 year old who, despite taunts about his dress sense and being gay, wants to attend his school prom in a dress. A thought provoking and moving documentary inspired Tom Macrae (book and lyrics), Dan Gillespie Sells (music) and Jonathan Butterell (director) to put it on the stage.
Cut to 13th February 2017 when it premiered at Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to rave reviews. Word of mouth spread fast and it wasn’t long before it transferred to Apollo Theatre in the heart of London on 22nd November 2017.
So the story. It focuses on Jamie New, a 16 year old boy who has big dreams of becoming a drag queen and attending his school prom in a dress. To make his dreams a reality, he faces opposition from his careers teacher Miss Hedge and Dean, the school bully
As well as following the story of Jamie and his quest to become a drag queen, there is also the the central theme of his mothers love and encouragement, faced with her own adversity. His mum is his biggest supporter and it’s touching to see how much she cares for him and wants the best for him. She truly accepts him and does everything she can to make him the person he wants to be.
This even extends to buying his first pair of heels (a gorgeous pair of red shoes) and lying about his dad.
She puts a lot of effort into making Jamie think his dad accepts him, when in fact his dad wants nothing to do with him. A mothers love really is stronger than anything. On his quest to becoming a drag queen, Jamie befriends the owner of his local drag queen attire shop- Hugo. Hugo mentors Jamie and books his first drag show.
The show has a strong message of support throughout, especially from the most unlikely of places. Perhaps the biggest support of all is Jamie’s friend Pritti. She herself faces her own battles for being Muslim but this doesn’t stop her being Jamie’s biggest encouragement on his mission. You really couldn’t wish for a better friend.
This isn’t the fairytale story we hope for and of course there has to be some battles to fight along the way. Jamie gets attacked but an unlikely hero comes to the rescue. He also faces backlash from his school for wanting to attend prom in a dress. The school won’t allow it, much to his mothers annoyance. Does this stop our hero? No chance!He turns up to the prom in a beautiful dress to then be refused entry.
However, you’ll have to watch the show to see the outcome of this. However I will say that the show ends in an uplifting and positive way. Not only is it a well written story, the music is incredibly fitting too. The songs pinpoint the emotions of the story perfectly, be it Jamie’s dreams or how much his mother loves him (“He’s my boy”). You couldn’t get a better soundtrack.
The show has had its fair share of well known names join the cast. People like Shobna Gulati, Mina Anwar, Shane Richie, Jon McCrea, Hayley Tamaddon and of course the legendary Michelle Visage! They have currently got Faye Tozer (from pop band Steps) and Bianca Del Rio (Roy Haylock) debuting in the show!
A huge draw for them was getting the insanely talented Layton Williams in the lead role of Jamie! Layton just oozes star quality and it’s fantastic to see him take on a lead role that suits him down to the ground!
Such is the appeal of the show that within a couple of years, it’s already touring and being made into a movie! The announcement that the movie version of the musical will be produced by Warp Films. Having been broadcast live in cinemas twice which shows just how popular the show is and I can’t wait to see who they cast in the roles! There is also set to be a tour of the show next year too.
I went to see the show on Wednesday 29th May after falling in love with the soundtrack and hearing such rave reviews from friends who’d seen it. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. And I really lucked out with the current cast, I mean Faye from Steps and Bianca Del Rio, COME ON!
The show was just what I imagined and more and was very close to home with my own story, although I never went to a prom. I could really relate to Jamie though and cried when his mum sang the most beautiful song about him.
The drag queens in the show are just amazing, so funny and they look stunning, Bianca Del Rio couldn’t have had a more fitting role. It’s a shame that Layton was on a break from the show as I would have loved to see him play Jamie but the person playing Jamie was absolutely incredible! For anyone with a love of drag, this show is right up your street and shows all the drag artists as strong and ballsy. Just what we want from our heroes!
I just couldn’t help but be overcome with emotion at Jamie’s journey and his mothers love and acceptance for him. It’s so refreshing to see a mum championing her son for his choices. I’m lucky enough to have a mum just like that. In this crazy world we live in, it is so good to lose yourself in a positive and upbeat show. Tickets sell very fast so make sure you book in advance. The likelihood of picking up any tickets last minute are highly unlikely due to sell out performances every night.
Who would have a thought a show about a 15 year old drag queen would have taken the theatre world by storm but here it is! A beautiful story, a well written script, catchy and perfectly fitting songs, and a talented cast who bring everything to life.
The message I take from the show is to surround yourself with a strong and positive support network of people. Be who you want to be and have confidence in who you are. There’s always a place where you belong!
For information on tickets and about the show, head to : https://www.everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk/
Or visit their twitter @JamieMusical
Catch the live show in cinemas on Thursday 13th June. For more information go to
You can also listen to the beautifully perfect soundtrack on all music streaming platforms or just download it and listen to it on repeat like I have!
Written by contributor Nathan Warren