Emotional Sheffield return for real-life mum and son inspiration for Everybody's Talking About Jamie

The extraordinary mother and son whose story sparked a huge hit musical are still big fans of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Jamie and his mum Margaret on stage, played by Layton Williams and Amy Ellen RichardsonJamie and his mum Margaret on stage, played by Layton Williams and Amy Ellen Richardson
Jamie and his mum Margaret on stage, played by Layton Williams and Amy Ellen Richardson

Jamie and Margaret Campbell reckon they’ve seen the show that is based on their lives more than 50 times and they love the new touring cast.

“The dancing was very, very strong,” said Jamie of the touring version of show that has been a huge success in its first venue, Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre. Other theatres to follow include Leeds Grand on July 13 to 18.

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He added: “I thought the cast of kids were amazing. Some of them are actually in the film version. The new Margaret (Amy Ellen Richardson) was great and Miss Hedge (Lara Denning) was great.”

Jamie and Margaret have already seen Layton Williams in the title role and EastEnders star Shane Richie as his drag mentor Hugo and alter ego Loco Chanelle on stage in the West End.

They thought the duo were even sharper in Sheffield.

Margaret said: “Everyone that does it is always fantastic. They bring so much energy to the show and that makes it shine through. It makes me feel so bloody old as well!”

Jamie, whose stage character is called Jamie New, joked that he’s Jamie Old now at 25.

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The show was created for Sheffield Theatres by director and co-writer Jonathan Butterell, Dan Gillespie Sells of the band The Feeling and Doctor Who scriptwriter Tom MacRae.

Jonathan was inspired by watching the 2011 BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, about Jamie’s ambition to wear a dress for his school prom.

They moved the story from County Durham to Sheffield for the show, which premiered at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in February 2017.

It had a smash-hit West End debut, where it continues at the Apollo Theatre, and last year Sheffield’s Warp Films went on location in the city for the cinema version.

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“I thought it’d get easier but I still feel it every moment I’m there," said Jamie. “I feed off what the audience is feeling.

“I was in floods from the moment they started. I was just crying my eyes out. I don’t know if it was being back in Sheffield or not.”

Margaret said: “You can feel the love more in Sheffield. I’m not saying you don’t get it in the West End but because it was here it’s absolutely been fabulous.

“It’s not a direct telling of our story but it is our story. There’s a lot on stage that really happened. It’s like watching your life on rewind.

“The raw emotion takes you back to what really happened.”

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The relationship between Jamie and his mum, who supports her boy to live his life the way he wants, is at the centre of the show.

Neither of them regrets the choices they made or the amazing way it changed their lives for a moment.

Margaret said: “If he had gone to the prom in a suit he would have been miserable. It was a very brave move to go in a dress.

“He likes performing and likes doing this. It’s the path he’s chosen and it’s opening up so much for him.”

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Jamie, whose drag name is Fifi La True, has performed a show called Why Isn’t Everybody Talking About Fifi? and recently did an adult pantomime.

He’s now looking for other performing opportunities.

Jamie thinks the musical is a ‘don’t miss’ show: “It’s fun, fabulous and feels good!”

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield until February 29, then goes on national tour.

Sheffield Theatres box office: www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Leeds Grand website: www.leedsgrandtheatre.com

Jamie tour website: www.everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk/2020-uk-tour

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