Everybody is Talking about Jamie - and how wonderful the theatre show the Sheffield teen inspired is

Fabulous, fun and fierce – those are the three words I would use to summarise this wonderful theatre show.
Layton Williams as Jamie. Photo by Johan PerssonLayton Williams as Jamie. Photo by Johan Persson
Layton Williams as Jamie. Photo by Johan Persson

For those who don’t know, (of which I hope there aren’t many at all), ‘Everybody’s Talking about Jamie’ tells the story of 16-year-old Jamie New, of Parson Cross, who dreams of being a drag queen and takes a stand against social convention by going to his school prom wearing a dress.

Jamie is played by the incredibly talented Layton Williams, who takes the audience on an emotional journey with his character. Jamie’s transformation from school boy to drag queen is so entertaining to watch, and Layton does this with a great amount of poise, humour and sass.

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As an audience member, you feel all the highs and lows Layton’s character is feeling, especially when he sings.

A highlight was ‘Ugly in this World’, which Layton delivered with an equal amount of passion and pain.

Other actors who showcased amazing vocal talents were Amy Ellen Richardson, who played Jamie’s supportive mum Margaret New, and also Sharan Phull, who played his best friend Pritti Pasha.

Amy’s performance of ‘He’s My Boy’ is quite simply heartbreaking and brought a tear to my eye, (and I was close enough to the stage to see it brought a tear to her eye too). The song, and the delivery of it, were very powerful.

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Sharan’s performance of ‘It Means Beautiful’ was indeed beautiful. She has such a lovely, angelic voice that matches her character’s sweet nature.

I also enjoyed watching the character development of Jamie’s teacher Miss Hedge, played by Lara Denning, and also his class mate Dean Paxton, played by George Sampson. It would be an understatement to say neither of these characters know how to respond to Jamie – but all stars must face a challenge and Jamie’s battles with these two provide some humour, sorrow and more fantastic songs.

This show is, of course, extra poignant because it is based on the real life experiences of Jamie Campbell. The local audience definitely appreciated the local references such as ‘Meadowhall’ and even ‘Meadowhell’. I also loved seeing a recent edition of the Sheffield Telegraph on stage. It’s great to have Jamie home.

‘Everybody's Talking about Jamie’ is at the Lyceum Theatre until Saturday, February 29. To get your tickets, please go to www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/everybodys-talking-about-jamie or call the Box Office on 0114 249 6000.