Everbody’s Talking About Jamie … and you better believe I am too!! I had been so outrageously excited about seeing this show since I heard about its move to the West End, as it was originally based in Sheffield, which is the closest big city to my home town – so that’s blummin’ cool for a start. Plus I actually remember seeing the BBC3 documentary about Jamie when it first came out in 2011 so it was wild to see that story played out on stage, even if there were a few theatrical changes, but I mean who doesn’t love a story being spiced up just a tad?
If I’m being 100% honest, it isn’t my favourite show of all time. I’m not necessarily one for more small-town musicals with melancholic string music so it never was really going to be the best show in the world in my eyes but, saying that, I still did have a great time. There are some real bops in it, particularly ‘And You Don’t Even Know It’ and ‘Limited Edition Prom Night Special’ and the storyline was incredibly moving, especially when considering it’s based on someone’s real life. The cast was also particularly fab. In the interval I popped to the loo and found myself surrounded by a flock of women all in awe at the talent of the performance, all asking the most important question of all – what bloody face cream do they all use to look so young?! In the months leading up to me seeing the show I’d seen that Layton Williams had been re-cast as Jamie and wowzers did he impress. While I did love John McCrea’s performance as Jamie on the cast recording, Layton’s rendition of ‘And You Don’t Even Know It’ is hands down my favourite!! The rest of the cast were, of course, all fabulous too, although it has to be said that I did feel sorry for Marlon Day who played Jamie’s dad who did such a great job as the show’s ‘villain’ that he was booed during his final bow. I know he is the ‘bad guy’ during his performance but it is a real shame that the audience failed to distinguish him from his character – it all felt a little pantomime-esque.
Besides the cast and script though, the staging deserves the ultimate special mention … it was a serious ‘omg’ moment for me. I love, love, love staging that is modern and utilises what up-and-coming theatre has to offer. It was like a Tetris, disco school, promise land – if you know, you know. If not I seriously recommend checking out some clips on Youtube because it seriously was brilliant despite its simplicity. There is also a marvellous scene which takes place in a dress shop that was also a serious colour-tastic rave. In the past few years I’ve started to love colours more and more so now if you fill a stage with every shade of the blummin’ rainbow you’ll be sure to have me popping a cheesy grin in no time. Don’t even get me started on Jamie’s costuming. If I could wear his end of show jacket to every occasion, whether that’s the Queen’s B-Day partaaay or just on a trip to get milk from Tescos I would do so without a second thought. The prom outfits also earnt a solid tick of approval from me. In my old lady state it kinda took me back to my 2015 prom, which thrust me into a pretty complex whirlwind of nostalgia and cringe. But all in all the set and costuming were brilliantly thought out – regardless of any teen year flashbacks they induced.
Moving on from the performance itself I wanted to quickly mention the show’s venue, the Apollo Theatre, which is such a gorgeous little theatre for it to be hosted in. It has so many little trinket adornments, including a lush selfie mirror and plenty of framed posters of old shows, as well as the most flamboyant ceiling I have ever seen. It was a very complimentary fit for the show actually. They were also selling some very reasonably priced merchandise – I picked up a new pin badge and a script myself to add to the collection. The one thing I will advise is that, if you’re on the upper circle, getting the left-hand side stairs to the bars or merch stalls on different levels is a tad confusing as it seems as though the staircase only goes directly to the side entrance to the theatre BUT on my trip we found a hidden door that actually brings you out at the stalls – it was all very exciting!! It’s situated on the lowest landing of the stairs to the exit, just before you turn the corner. We did get a few funny looks going through it, especially when we came through what looked like just a wall to people on the other side of it when exiting, but it all felt very magical and theatre appropriate which was fun. The staff were also super helpful at this venue which is always a lovely plus.
All in all, it goes without saying that I love the real life Jamie and the character of Jamie so, so much and even though this show hasn’t become my all time fave, it is still such a wonderful combination of heartwarming and belly-laugh brilliant. I don’t think I’d pay to go see it again, just because it isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I did have a wonderful time and have of course downloaded the cast album to bop along to during dog walks or train journies. I know that I like shows which are pretty unrealistic and involve major OTT storylines and this wasn’t that because it was primarily based off of real-life events, but I pinky promise to still keep talking about Jamie for the time being.
Anyway, I know this was more of a short and sweet Curtain Call Chats but I hope you all have a wonderful week,
Lots of love, hugs and happy reading,