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It may have more than a smidgen of the high-heeled outrageousness of Kinky Boots, a smattering of the ambition of Billy Elliot and a classroom sprinkling of Matilda and School of Rock about it, but this vibrant, heart-warming new musical – a well-deserved transfer after a short run in Sheffield - is based pretty solidly in fact.

Okay, Dan Gillespie Sells (music) and Tom MacRae (book and lyrics) have taken a few liberties with the real Jamie’s story (which was the subject of a BBC documentary) – relocating it from Durham and making his best friend a bespectacled, hijab-wearing Muslim who wants to be a doctor. But they stay completely true to the spirit of teenage Jamie’s quest for acceptance for what he his.

With his white blond hair and sparkly salmon pink socks, there’s no way this openly gay, sixteen year old schoolboy is cut out to be a forklift truck driver or a prison guard – no matter what his careers teacher and the psychometric tests may say. What he really wants to do is become a drag queen – and he plans to tell the world by wearing a dress to the school prom.

Co-writer Jonathan Butterell’s vibrant production – with knock’em dead choreography for Jamie and his schoolmates courtesy of ZooNation’s Kate Prince - is a treat for any time of year. As endlessly supportive single mum Margaret, Josie Walker stirs the emotions with “He’s My Boy” and “ If I Met Myself Again”, whilst Lucie Shorthouse  is just as impressive as the studious, equally loyal Pritti. And at the centre of it all is John McCrea’s long-legged Jamie, strutting his stuff in vertiginous red platforms,  hiding the hurt of being told he’s disgusting by his estranged father, and not only finding the courage to do what he wants to do but also putting the school bully in his place in the process.  It’s an unforgettable performance in a feel-good show that’s not to be missed.

Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7EZ

Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Currently booking until 21st April 2018  

£20.00- £69.50 (+ premium seats)


Theatre Review: Everybody's Talking About Jamie
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