Shaftesbury Avenue, London
Previewed: 6 November 2017
Opened: 22 November 2017
Booking up to: 25 January 2020
Buy tickets:Buy tickets online
Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Thursday at 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday no shows
Runs ? hours and ? minutes
£? to £?
(plus booking fees if applicable)
The new hit British musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie in London starring Layton Williams
Jamie New is sixteen. He's from Sheffield. And he has a secret. He doesn't quite fit in at school. His Dad's left home. He's about to sit his GCSEs. The future is terrifying. But Jamie is going to be a sensation.
Please note this show contains some strong language.
The show's writer Tom MacRae said: "It's based on a BBC documentary on a lad called Jamie, who became a drag queen at 16. He wanted to go to his school prom in a dress." The musical, which features songs by Dan Gillespie Sells (of The Feeling), is based on the 2011 BBC Three television documentry Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 and was presented for a three week run at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield during February 2017.
The cast (from February 2019) features Layton Williams as 'Jamie New', Rebecca McKinnis as his mum 'Margaret New', and Sabrina Sandhu as his best friend 'Pritti Pasha', with Luke Baker as 'Dean Paxton', Sejal Keshwala as 'Rayia 'Ray' Begum', Shane Richie as 'Hugo (Loco Chanelle)', and Hayley Tamaddon as 'Miss Hedge'. Casting subject to change without notice. Directed by Jonathan Butterell with choreography by Kate Prince, designs by Anna Fleischle, lighting by Lucy Carter and sound by Paul Groothuis.
Layton Williams' London stage credits include the role of 'Angel Schunard' in Bruce Guthrie's revival of Jonathan Larson's Rent at the St James Theatre in 2016 and the role of 'Young Michael' in the musical Thriller Live at the Lyric Theatre. He is probably best known for playing the role of 'Stephen' in the BBC TV comedy Bad Education.
The title role of 'Jamie New' was originally played here in the West End by John McCrea from Monday 6 November 2017 to Saturday 26 January 2018, and by Layton Williams from Monday 28 January 2018.
When this musical opened here at the Apollo Theatre in London in November 2017, Neil Norman in the Daily Express explained how "the happy marriage of music by Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom McRae's book and lyrics is bolstered by Kate Prince's terrific street dance-inflected choreography and Lucy Carter's lighting design... it is an enormously enjoyable show with a serious social riptide... The dialogue is sharp, waspish and funny and Jonathan Butterell's direction is polished without being too shiny. A palpable hit." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times praised "this effervescent, joyous new musical... let's hear it for a show that champions tolerance and inclusivity with such heart, wit and flair." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard commented how "John McCrea anchors Jonathan Butterell's lively production, charismatic as the passionate and occasionally naive Jamie... The highlight of a strong supporting cast is Josie Walker as Jamie's mother, glorious in her introspective solos. Lucie Shorthouse is richly amusing as his earnestly diligent friend Pritti and Phil Nichol delights as his bear-like mentor Hugo... The result is a true crowd-pleaser - big-hearted and joyous." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper said that "this show is irresistible: a joyous, life-affirming Billy Elliot for an age negotiating the fluidities of gender identity... Kate Prince's witty S Club choreography is superb... Dan Gillespie Sells, frontman of The Feeling, has written an immensely attractive score that rises to the emotional occasion with some eloquently poignant power ballads... Everybody's Talking About Jamie won a string of awards for its first airing in Sheffield; I reckon it might pick up a few more during this jubilant London run." Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted that "this fizzing musical is a blast of fresh air... John McCrea lights up the stage as Jamie, gawky, vulnerable and magnetic... It's the real deal, this one. Everyone really should be talking, singing, shouting about Jamie now." Tim Auld in the Daily Telegraph thought that "Jonathan Butterell, Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae, have created a show that, judging by the audience's response, could end up a cult classic. Kate Prince's choreography is sharp and evocative of the trudging boredom of the classroom and the opportunities it gives for naughty self-expression. The music, referencing pop, funk and northern soul, is catchy, though a little middle-aged." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail described it as being "pretty good fun, even if it feels derivative - a cross between Billy Elliot and Priscilla Queen Of The Desert. Never mind! This show has a sense of humour, some bubbly songs, Yorkshire repartee and a great central performance from John McCrea as stiletto-heeled Jamie. I suppose you could also make something of the fact that it plugs into the current political fashion for gender self-determination, but what is refreshing is that this show is pretty much unburdened by illiberal grievance politics."
The original West End cast featured John McCrea as 'Jamie New' - reprising the role he created from the Sheffield Crucible 2017 season, Josie Walker as his mum, 'Margaret New', and Lucie Shorthouse as his best friend 'Pritti Pasha', with Mina Anwar as 'Rayia 'Ray' Begum', Luke Baker as 'Dean Paxton', Tamsin Carroll as 'Miss Hedge', Phil Nichol as 'Hugo (Loco Chanelle)', Daniel Davids as 'Levi', Courtney Bowman as 'Fatimah', James Gillan as 'Tray Sophisticay', Harriet Payne as 'Bex', Shiv Rabheru as 'Cy', Kirstie Skivington 'Vicki', Alex Anstey, Luke Bayer, Marvyn Charles, Ken Christiansen, Jordan Cunningham, Ryan Hughes, Daniel Jacob, Cherelle Jay, Rebecca McKinnis, Chloe Pole, and Lauran Rae.
"A joyous new musical about a 16-year-old schoolboy's fight for the right to release his inner drag queen... The musical is a modern-day Cinderella story with Prince Charming wearing the dress. John McCrea is indeed charming in the title role: in his poignant confrontation with his homophobic father, his witty trouncing of the school bully and his fiery delivery of Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae's funky songs. In an excellent supporting cast Josie Walker gives a powerhouse performance as Jamie's eversupportive mother. She buys him a pair of red stilettos that, like Dorothy's ruby slippers, set him on the road to his personal Oz. The show isn't perfect. The drag queens' banter outstays its welcome and too many lines are designed to raise a cheer from a partisan audience. But, if there's any justice, people will be talking about Jamie for a long time to come." The Sunday Express
"Improbably based on a BBC3 documentary - about Jamie Campbell, a boy from Co Durham who was determined to wear a dress to his school prom. The show's makers shifted the hero to Sheffield, renamed him Jamie New and made of his metamorphosis into fabulousness a show that is pretty much irresistible... There's so much to love in Jonathan Butterell's production, on a clever capsule design by Anna Fleischle: Jamie's best friend, Pritti, the smart lass in a hijab; the songs by Dan Gillespie Sells, alternately throwing shade and unpacking the characters' hearts; the choreography by ZooNation's Kate Prince, full of hip-hop's roiling exuberance. The show's shape isn't perfect: there are moments when you wish it would linger, others when it needs to get a wriggle on... This is a show with shadows, and they are properly murky. Jamie's metamorphosis into Mimi is both cheering and unlovely, as he becomes the monster of his own creation. The clue is in his drag name - Mimi Me (me, me, me). It's a joke about self-aggrandisement, except it isn't, quite. As Mimi, he dismisses his chums and, unforgivably, his mum... the musical is in part about growing up, painfully. It doesn't sugar-coat. A song in which Jamie howls about how ugly he feels is almost too much to bear... It's about friends and family and learning how to shimmy through the gates to adulthood, wrapped in all manner of vernacular sass. I laughed. I cried. I'm still humming the songs. It's a chuffing marvellous British musical." The Sunday Times
"The Jamie in question is a 16-year-old Sheffield schoolboy whose ambition is to be a drag queen. Our peroxide-haired hero struggles to fulfil his dreams despite being consumed by feelings of self-disgust. He's called a 'minger' by the school bully, rejected by his bigoted dad and beaten up by thugs for being gay, but his devoted, skint mum finds the money to buy him a pair of towering red heels and a ruched floor-skimming frock. Boosted by his best friend Pritti, who's bullied for being clever, and a trio of drag queens, he transforms himself into his fierce alter-ego Mimi Me, 'a superstar in a Wonderbra'. He finally gets to go to the class prom in a dress, even convincing the school bully to dance with him. You'll find yourself rooting for Jamie as he sashays his way to happiness. Soon EVERYONE really will be talking about Jamie!" The Sunday Mirror
This production was original seen at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre - previewed from 9 February 2017, opened on 13 February 2017 and closed on 25 February 2017 - when the original cast featured John McCrea as 'Jamie New' with Josie Walker as his mum, 'Margaret New', Lucie Shorthouse as his best friend, 'Pritti Pasha' along with Mina Anwar as 'Rayia 'Ray' Begum', Luke Baker as 'Dean Paxton', Tamsin Carroll as 'Miss Hedge', and Charles Dale as 'Hugo (Loco Chanelle)'.
When this production was seen at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in February 2017, Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted how "John McCrea gives a career-making performance as the gangly kid in his school uniform who yearns to shimmy in a dress at his school prom... This show wears its message lightly on its (sparkly) shoulder pads. There is the odd lapse in pace but there is also lots of fun... At the end, the audience rose as one. This show has the tingle." Jonathan Brown in the i Newspaper said that "Jamie provides an entrance to the dazzling world of sequins, false breasts and tucked testicles that is at once fascinating and hilarious. John McCrea in the title role is triumphant as the boy in the dress... At the risk of pooping the party, the plotting is clunky and the production is overlong and drags in the second half as we are invited into Jamie's predictably troubled home life." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described it as being a "funny, outrageous, touching, but oh-my-word PC flag-waving show about a Sheffield schoolboy who has set his sights on becoming a drag queen... The show sends you out on a feelgood bubble of happiness. Think about it too much, though, and the bubble gets pricked." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented how "virtually everyone is entirely supportive both of his homosexuality and his frankly questionable taste in stiletto-heeled platform footwear... the thing is, without opposition, where is the story?.. Affirmation needs to affirm in the face of something reasonably weighty. What carries the show through is that that affirmation is so very joyous and witty." Michael Billington in the Guardian explained that "at every turn, the audience cheers Jamie on. However, it all seems a bit too easy... he has a loyally supportive mum, the love of his fellow pupils and a self-belief that only occasionally flags. To make up for the lack of dramatic substance, Tom MacRae has to fill out the story... The show is lively and engaging but, like its transvestite hero, demands a fair amount of padding."
Everybody's Talking About Jamie in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 6 November 2017 and opened on 22 November 2017