STAGE Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Yorkshire is becoming quite the place for new British musicals. Now comes the best of the lot. A musical for a new generation and a show that will go to the West End and run and run: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
I was surely not alone in feeling relief that I could stand up for the richly deserved ovation, purely for something physical to do other than being on the verge of or in the full flood of tears; the state I found myself for the final half hour of this show.
Perhaps it’s the current climate where a daily diet of hate is being spread around the globe, but a story about people accepting, embracing and simply allowing difference felt like such a positive antidote.
Based on the true story of Jamie Campbell, the musical tells the story of a teenage boy who wants to go to his prom in a dress, to unleash his true inner self, his inner self being a boy who wants to wear a dress.
It feels at times like a musical plundering the very best of Grease and Blood Brothers (and it cheekily borrows a refrain from Chicago – yes, at the top of Act 2 it does open up like Cell Block Tango) but in doing so has created something new, fresh and dazzling. Teenagers looking for acceptance is a story that’s been told by people as varied as James Dean to Sue Townsend but it has surely not been put to such infectious music before thanks to Dan Gillespie Sells, who provides the tunes for the story written by Tom MacRae.
As the eponymous hero, willowy John McCrae is born to the role. As
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