Y’all know I’m a sucker for drag. I’ve always thought drag queens were pretty awesome, but since becoming a RuPaul’s Drag Race addict I need all the drag I can get. So as soon as I heard that Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, a musical about a 16-year-old drag queen, was hitting the West End, I HAD to watch it and review it. Here’s why I loved it.
You all remember Billy Elliott, right? Boy wants to dance, shit goes down but he’s really good so he’s gotta make it. Well, that was the 90s. This is 2018, the era of Drag Superstars, more visibility for the LGBTQ and hopefully (although not always) more representation for people from different nationalities and walks of life. This is the space Everybody’s Talking About Jamie happens in, and really I just wish the world was like this musical. More drag, more tolerant, more glittery, more diverse.
Inspired by a true story, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie follows Jamie New (John McCrea), a sixteen-year-old boy who lives on a council estate in Sheffield. The musical opens in a school’s classroom, when all teenagers are asked what they want to become while Jamie realises he wants to be a drag queen. And why the fuck not. I would be a drag queen if I could.
Jamie is a diva who manages to dance and drop in pleaser heels like only the best queens can do. So naturally he just has to become a real queen – and go to prom in drag in the process. His teacher and the inevitable homophobic douchebag are obviously not keen on that, and proceed to make his life impossible.
Guided by the local diva Loco Chanelle (Phil Nichol), Jamie creates his drag character and challenges his town’s stereotypes and expectations by performing at a local club.
With cracking jokes and a Northern accent, music by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells, and glitter galore, this musical is all you need from a West End show: feel-good humour, stunning songs and even better dances. Except that it’s a little bit more than just that.
Jamie’s supporting characters’ stories are equally gripping. His single mother has spent her life making Jamie believe his father still sends him birthday gifts. His mum’s best friend, a fierce lady who cures everything with knock-off supermarket chocolate, is his biggest fan. Jamie’s friend Pritti, a muslim girl studying to be a doctor, glams up for prom in her hijab and is the portrait of the modern muslim British girl. In short, not only Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is hilarious, entertaining, gripping. It’s also probably the most inclusive musical to hit the West End.
Can we see Jamie at Drag Race Season 11 please? He’d SLAY IT.
P.S. I want everything he’s wearing.
Pictures: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie