Nottingham Theatre Royal – until Sat 30th September 2023
Reviewed by Amy V Gathercole
“Fabulous, funny and freeing – a show about finding your identity and looking
fabulous whilst doing it.”
Running since 2017 to standing ovations and celebrated by a vast fandom everywhere it
goes. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is based on a true story. It was initially a BBC
documentary documenting one boy’s journey and struggle to attend his year 11 school
prom in a dress.
It’s always a popular show to see. Following a record-breaking three-year West End
residency, winning countless awards and now it’s on tour again. It’s full of laughs, modern
choreography and a heartfelt tale to tell, with some memorable and outrageous characters
and a soundtrack you want to dance too.
Set not too far away in the old steel city of Sheffield, Jamie New (Ivano Turco) is a lad
who feels that he has always been misunderstood. He’s always had a star quality and a
dream but has yet to learn how to obtain it. He doesn’t just dream of being a YouTuber,
TikTok sensation, or even simply being famous, but specifically of being a drag queen! A
fabulous, stylish and iconic drag queen.
With the resurgence and popularity of drag in the last few years, thanks to Ru Paul and
their many Drag Race TV shows, this is the perfect show to celebrate being unique and
learning to love yourself and others.
I’m a lucky soul who got to see Layton Williams as Jamie and the iconic Bianca del Rio as
Loco as a pairing in one of the final shows in the West End a few years back, and tonight
was very different in many ways.
Ivano Turco is the latest to don those terrifying red spiked heels and entertain us all as the
one and only Jamie New. His performance tonight was full of beautiful innocence and
wonder, which I’ve not seen from Jamie before; it’s the closest to an actual insecure and
curious teenager I’ve seen in this role. After all, he’s a 16-year-old facing his exams and
alongside his peers, having to answer that scary question of ‘what do you want to do with
your life?’ Add this to navigating bullies, personal insecurities, a troubled relationship with
a distant disapproving Dad and you’ve got a plethora of problems to tackle for our lead.
Seasoned pro-John Partridge (Hugo & Loco Channel) has been appearing in musicals for
years (Miss Saigon, Chicago and La Cage aux Follies, to name a few), but tonight, seeing
him take on a vulnerable dual character was so impressive.
Combining a perfect accent from the north with the high fantasy of his alter ego, Loco
Chanelle. Hugo’s a once-upon-a-time drag queen who now spends his days selling drag
clothing in ‘Victor’s Secret’ in Sheffield. Think of him as Jamie’s unconventional fairy
Both Rebecca Mckinnis as Jamie’s Mum, Margret New and Shobna Gulati as her best mate
and massive support of Jamie, Ray, are compelling, funny and have some very powerful
performances (emotionally and vocally), as they help guide Jamie along his way to fulfil his
dreams and stay true to himself.
They’ve never been bothered about Jamie being gay and have always encouraged his
individualism, but there are some secrets that they’re hiding that could be the solution to
some of Jamie’s biggest fears.
Talia Palamathanan as Jamie’s best friend and confidant, Pritti is brilliant. She plays a
critical role in the show and in Jamie’s life, as one of the people who believes in his
ambitious dreams and also knows how to stop going too far, most of the time and tonight
her vocals were perfect.
The set is primarily set in a school with classmates or a kitchen on a council estate, with a
couple of other locations thrown in. It’s functional, clever and full of vibrancy and colour as
it shifts from scene to scene.
It’s a beautiful script that explores who we are and how we share that uniqueness. The
show is packed full of memorable and emotional songs throughout, on this journey to
Overall, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a show that’s fabulous, funny and freeing -its a
show about finding your identity and looking fabulous whilst doing it.