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BrumHour saw Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the invite of Birmingham Hippodrome.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains strong language including homophobic and racial slurs.
Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Birmingham Hippodrome
Directed by Matt Ryan, original direction by Jonathan Butterell, music by Dan Gillespie Sells book by Tom MacRae
Jamie (Ivano Turco) is turning sixteen and leaving school, his immediate dreams of being a drag queen are hampered by most of the people at his school including his teacher Miss Hedge (Hayley Tamaddon). He is supported by his best friend Pritti (Talia Palamathanan) and at home by his mother Margaret (Rebecca McKinnis) and her best friend Ray (played by main returning cast member Shobna Gulati).
This is a hugely fun production with lots of heart and passion from its cast and creators, it totally sidesteps tropes of romance and love and focuses on individuals, community and growing up. The kitchen sink and school classroom locations make it relatable to almost anyone who has stood in their parents’ or grandparents’ kitchen and asked for something.. or anything.
The story is very much a reflection of the 2010s with references to plenty of things from the decade, especially X Factor and reality talent shows. Does it need updated references or will it become a snapshot of its decade? Not a huge issue for now.
The versatile set contains secret rooms and the top of the industrial box holds the band onstage and for me the metal reminds me of Sheffield as its home of Sheffield’s steel industry.
This ensemble cast and story is filled with scene stealers! John Partridge is fantastic as Loco/Hugo, Jamie’s drag mentor, Shobna Gulati is always excellent and so funny, Talia Palamathanan sings my favourite song from the whole production It Means Beautiful and it is a dreamy moment of hope and reflection. However, this show belongs to Ivano Turco from his awkward first steps in red high heels to the curtain call he is, shy, funny, and grows with confidence throughout the performance, a true picture of Jamie’s journey.
A wonderful show, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 14th October 2023. Discover what is coming up at Birmingham Hippodrome here: birminghamhippodrome.com/whats-on. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is currently touring until July 2024, book tickets here: everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk/tour-dates-and-book-tickets.