Before I moved to London about 6 years ago, I lived in Sheffield for 11 years. Now obviously Sheffield can’t compete with London, but it does have quite a nice little theatre scene of it’s own. And that is where ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ started out last year; at the very lovely Crucible Theatre, which I know well. Several of my friends in Sheffield saw it, and their reactions were so overwhelmingly positive that when I heard it was moving to London it was, of course, high on my list of shows to see.
It’s got a slightly similar storyline to ‘Billy Elliott’ – boy from working class background wants an unconventional career and encounters some unsympathetic attitudes from those around him. There are, however, some differences. Unlike poor motherless Billy, Jamie has a very sympathetic mum, along with mum’s best friend (played by the absolutely brilliant Mina Anwar – always a pleasure to watch). And while Billy tries his hardest to conform (at least externally), Jamie never has the slightest intention of doing so. And of course one could reasonably argue, why should he?- and that’s quite true. It does however, make the rapid change in attitude of his classmates a little hard to swallow.
The music is upbeat and the cast mostly very good (and I LOVED the character of Pritti, Jamie’s bookish Asian best friend who reminded me so much of me!) and while it certainly is an entertaining and undemanding evening’s theatre, I somehow expected just a little more…
Overall: fun, but fell a tiny bit flat for me.