presented by The British Theatre Academy
Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. Jamie is going to be a sensation.
Supported by his brilliant, loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies, and steps out of the darkness into the spotlight.
Sixteen: the edge of possibility. Time to make your dreams come true
This amateur production of Everybody's Talking About Jamie: Teen Edition is presented by The British Theatre Academy by arrangement with Concord Theatricals LTD. www.concord.co.uk
Review by Jenni Balow
EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE: TEEN EDITION
BRITISH THEATRE ACADEMY
Jamie is about to raise more than a few eyebrows, and eyelashes of the stick-on kind, come to that, when he takes his first big and wobbly step in a pair of scarlet suede platform heels, towards shattering his school's dress code at the prom on the last day of term.
Aged 16, he wants to be "just a boy in a dress", but it is not going to be easy, with school bully Dean, his careers teacher Miss Bridge, the group of hoodies who beat him up, a classful of mates, and his Mum, who will all need to be persuaded that it really is the right thing to do.
No wonder the musical, Everybody's Talking About Jamie, had such a huge impact when it made its debut at The Crucible in Sheffield in 2017, rapidly transferring to the West End, winning armfuls of awards, and currently touring the UK, including Plymouth next April.
The ever-innovative British Theatre Academy brought the Teen Edition to a sold-out Minack, with direction and crisp choreography by Corin Miller, and a pulsing recorded soundtrack by musical directors Will Sharma and Phil Shute, where it has been enthusiastically welcomed by its young audiences.
The musical was based on the original book and lyrics by Tom Macrea, with music by Dan Gillespie Sells, from an idea by Jonathan Butterell, which originated with a BBC documentary about a real life Durham schoolboy, who wanted to become a drag artiste.
The starring role for this production was shared between Henry Littell and Daniel Wilmot. By the time I got to see the show, after a stormy weather cancellation, it was Henry's turn - and what a treat that was.
The boy with beautful red hair and a porcelain skin was closer to a pre-Raphaelite model than a 21st century drag queen, and gave the role such a touching vulnerability that it was hard to hold back the tears, with his gentle trust in the sweetest of school friends, Pritti, played with equal sincerity by Leah Deal.
Tabitha Knowles, his cardi-wearing, protective Mum, triggered the tears once again with the songs He's My Boy and If I Met Myself Again, despite the sassy support of best-friend Ray, Emily Cackett.
But there is fun to be had thanks to the 'dressing up' advice of Felix Hepburn, who is outstanding in his role as a former drag queen with a colourful wardrobe and a great voice, and the trio of 'queens', Tray Sophisticay, Ethan Quinn, Laika Virgin, Joe Northover and Sandra Bollock, Sam Akinsoyade.
The up-beat ensemble, the lippy class, smart in their school blazers, shimmering in shifts and sneakers, and all dressed-up for the prom, give the show its determined modern edginess, with teacher Maddie Spencer, Thomas Barriball as the smart arse bully, Elliott Burges as Jamie's couldn't-care-less Dad, and the lustrous Katie Fegan as the young Loco Chanelle.
They were aided and abetted by Cassie Cooper, Nikita McMahon, Emie Sarmiento, Isabella Noury, Timi Akinsoyade, Hayden Stevens, Evan Huntley-Robertson, Archie Creffield and Elliott Mason.
They firmly stick to their 'up North' accents and will all finally link together to ensure that Jamie can step out of the darkness and into the spotlight - and it won't be as the fork lift driver that careers teacher Miss Bridge thought might suit him very nicely.