REVIEW: Everybody's Talking About Jamie at Wolverhampton Grand

We reviewed the current production of 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' earlier in its run. This review is an updated version of a previously published one.

This is my fourth time watching this musical - one which holds a special place in so many people hearts and which is a stellar example of new British writing that stands apart from its contemporaries.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a coming-of-age stage musical with music by The Feeling frontman, Dan Gillespie Sells and with book and lyrics by Tom MacRae. The show is inspired by the 2011 television documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 and follows a teenager as he overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness to become a drag queen.

Having debuted in the West End in 2017, I first saw Jamie a few years ago and, it's fair to say, I developed an obsession. Now, four productions, one film and countless viewings of the pro-shot later, this musical shows no signs of slowing down.

Jamie has fast become a cult phenomenon. It's a musical with a gorgeous soundtrack, a clever set and a solid chunk of Northern charm. It's a story which resonates so poignantly with a cross-section of society and does so with a hilarious, heart-wrenching, sassy and an exquisite example of the quality of new musicals we produce in Britain.

The actor who takes on the role of Jamie has a non-stop couple of hours, barely leaving the stage from the opening number. Finton Flynn understudied the role for this performance and was just incredible.

That's also the last time you'll hear me mention the 'u' word - this wasn't a stand-in performance, or someone to cover the (equally incredible) Ivano Turco's absence, tonight was Finton's night and he grabbed it with both hands.

With a sass, charisma and confidence that brings Jamie to life, Flynn was the epitome of the role and a stellar choice for a leading man. His vocals were on point, and he was a perfect example of why every member of a company is integral to the success of a show.  

Once again, Rebecca McKinnis blew me away with her portrayal of Jamie’s mum, Margaret. Josie Walker originated the role in London and, night after night was well know for bringing the audience to tears. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Margaret, but McKinnis continues to perform with a gut wrenching, gritty emotion that the character needs and was simply outstanding tonight. Her rendition of 'He's My Boy' was powerful, haunting and truly world class. 

Giovanna Fletcher took on the role of Miss Hedge - a part which could have been written for her. Fletcher showcased a perfect understanding of the assignment and gave the audience everything the needed. Miss Hedge can sometimes feel like a role that's crying out for 'something' bearing in mind her stage time is a lot less than some of the other leads, but Fletcher just seemed to nail all of the component parts and hit the mark so well each time a laugh was required.

However, I must continue to give credit to the inimitable Shobna Gulati. Turning into the Mrs Johnstone of Jamie, Gulati has played the role of Ray in the London production and on tour, reprised it in the big-screen version and is back again for this production - and honestly, I don;t ever want to see anyone else play the part.

Gulati is Ray; she just get's it. She's not playing a part here - it's a manifestation of northern-ness, a dry wit and perfect comedy timing that jut epitomises the character so perfectly and it’s such a huge asset to the Jamie family that Shobna’s love affair with the story still remains strong.

Without hesitation, I’d happily say Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is exactly what we need in the world right now. An important, poignant piece of theatre with a heart, a message and a stack of humour. This show should be back in the West End, in a prime location and should remain there.

Without sounding (too) cliche, this production really is in a place where it belongs and is something the whole country should have in their ‘to see’ list. If I could watch this show every day of the week, I happily would.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie plays at Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday 27th January. For more information, visit

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