Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Dan Gillespie Sells. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Dan Gillespie Sells. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, 17 November 2017

Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Apollo Theatre | Review


Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Apollo Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 15th November 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Everybody's Talking About Jamie has been one of my most highly anticipated shows of 2017 since I heard the rave reviews during it's run at the Sheffield Crucible. Based on real life events, it tells the story of 16 year old Jamie New, who's dreams are a little different to his classmates. Chronicling the struggles of growing up, issues with family and being accepted, it's the warm, British, comedic show the West End has been waiting for.

The real story was adapted for stage by composer Dan Gillespie-Sells and Tom MacRae and is their first foray into the world of musical theatre. 

Dan's soundtrack is sublime with a faultless mix of upbeat, pop numbers such as 'You Don't Even Know It' as well as heart-achingly beautiful ballads, my personal favourite being 'Wall in My Head'.

Tom MacRae's book is equally fantastic; humour is perfectly balanced with drama and pain to make the show ebb and flow seamlessly. Of course the production is camp but it's not over the top or forced and the classroom scenes are just hilarious. Nothing is overdone and despite some comments falling slightly flat, every moment of dialogue is truly realistic- it feels like watching real life play out rather than performers on a stage. 


On the surface this is a show about drag but the real focus is on the relationships between Jamie and his peers and specifically between him and his mum Margaret, played wonderfully by Josie Walker. It's wonderful to see a parent so supportive of their child even though they're not what people may perceive as 'normal', and it's made even more special by the fact that we know it's based on a true mother/son relationship. Whilst Margaret and Jamie's struggles may contrast to others, the story shows just how important mum's, and not just mum's but whoever your supports in life, are. We all fight with and irritate those who are close to us but that's just because we love them and it's so joyous to see this love played out so sweetly and genuinely on stage.

John McCrea is  faultless as Jamie, even in his ludicrously high stilettos! He is quick witted, sarky and exudes life and joy- I want to be his friend! His voice is great and he just does the most outstanding job every second he's on stage (and he's basically on stage every second.)

His best friend and partner is crime, Pritti is performed fantastically by Lucie Storthouse. 'It Means Beautiful' is sung wonderfully by her and the extremely clever staging adds a magical element to it. It almost becomes a prayer and is a touching scene.


Katie Prince's unique choreography fits the show perfectly and adds a fresh and modern feel. The contemporary dance during 'If I Met Myself Again' is breathtaking and certainly a standout moment of the entire show.

Overall, Everybody's Talking About Jamie is the perfect injection of life, modernity and sass that the West End is craving. It's a story about being yourself no matter what and facing your fears head on. For a contemporary, spectacular piece of British theatre, get yourself along the the Apollo theatre and start talking about Jamie!

For tickets and information about the show, visit https://www.londonboxoffice.co.uk

photo credit: Johan Persson

*disclaimer: this was a preview performance so elements of the show could change*

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Tour), New Victoria Theatre Theatre | Review


Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 15th March 2022
★★★★

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is fast becoming a staple piece of theatre in the UK and indeed across the world. Having had various iterations in many countries including Japan and Italy, as well as the hit film which was released last year; the musical retains its Britishness, strong heart and morals and continues to be an inspiring and entertaining experience.

Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae's show tells the story of an extroverted 15 year old who dreams of being a drag queen. Despite being sure of himself and his abilities, young Jamie New faces a number of hurdles and people who try to dull his sparkle. So, he works to overcome these and to show the close-minded people around him that being true to yourself can get you far. It's a show which delights and inspires in equal measure, and is sure to keep its spot in theatre lover's hearts for a long time.

As the title character, Layton Williams is a treat to watch. He brings Jamie to life truthfully and so glamourously. From the opening of 'And You Don't Even Know It', Layton completely owns the character and shows us the light and shade enveloped in it. At times his vocals get lost but he makes up for this with his incredible wit and larger than life personality that soars on stage.

Playing Jamie's kind and strong mum is Amy Ellen Richardson who's vocal performance is outstanding. 'He's My Boy' is an absolute highlight of the show and her vulnerable performance is incredibly moving. Her chemistry with Layton is great and she also works incredibly well with her best friend Ray (played brilliantly at this performance by Lisa-Marie Holmes).

Another lovely friendship is that of Jamie and Pritti. The pair are both misunderstood and confined in their own ways and it's so sweet to see them discuss this and to support each other without any toxicity. Sharan Phull is endearing and moving as Pritti, especially in her solo moments and fantastic monologue at the end of the show.

Shane Richie as Hugo/Loco Chanelle is fantastically entertaining, giving a really strong vocal performance and also showcasing fabulous comedic timing. Other stand out performances come from George Samson as Dean Paxton and Gary Lee in various roles including Laika Virgin at this performance.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a musical which inspires us all to own what makes us 'different' and is a really heartwarming portrayal of family, friendship and acceptance. It's contemporary and over the top and so much fun. Let's talk about Jamie a bit longer! Go see the show on tour!

Everybody's Talking About Jamie plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 19th March 2022 and then continues its tour

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Apollo Theatre | Review


Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Apollo Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 21st January 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Flying into its third year in the West End, Everybody's Talking About Jamie retains its giant heart and remains an inspiring, colourful, hilarious and all round joyous musical. Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae's show tells the story of an extroverted 15 year old who dreams of being a drag queen. Despite being sure of himself and his abilities, young Jamie New has to face those who oppose him and try to pull him down, so he can achieve his dreams and show the people around him that being true to yourself can get you far. It's a show which delights and inspires in equal measure, and is sure to retain its spot in theatre lovers hearts for the foreseeable future.

In his West End and indeed, professional debut, Noah Thomas brings every aspect of leading man, Jamie New, to life with an ease that is truthful to the story but feels just polished enough. Opening with the incredibly catchy 'And You Don't Even Know It', Noah immediately shows us who Jamie is as he transforms the stage into a world of colour and begins the journey which will shape his life. From there on in his entire performance is joyous to experience. With charm in spades and glorious vocals, Noah continually exudes life and never falters throughout his time on stage.

As Jamie's mum, Melissa Jacques is beautifully vulnerable, and draws huge amounts of empathy from the audience as she does all she can to be the best mum to her beloved son. Jacques' vocal performance is that of a powerhouse, with 'He's My Boy' providing an emotional high-point that wows the audience. The chemistry between Jamie and his mum is lovely to see, as is the truthful friendship of Jamie and and his best friend, Pritti. 

Both misunderstood and outsiders in their own ways, the pair continually find common ground and support one another. It's wonderful to see such a supportive and non-toxic friendship played out on stage. As Pritti, Hiba Elchikhe is delightfully moving and vocally exceptional, especially in the act two ballad, 'It Means Beautiful'. Just as Pritti's bedroom sparkles, Hiba gives a glittering performance and makes a sensational West End debut.


Roy Haylock/Bianca Del Rio as Hugo/Loco Chanelle is highly entertaining. Compared to the rest of the cast, his vocals are not consistently top notch but the energy and commitment he performs with mostly make up for that and it's a real treat to see such a widely recognised drag star on a West End stage.

As the rapping teacher Miss Hedge, Preeya Kalidas is vocally strong. The character herself is a little jarring at times as she flits between being an enforcer of reality and a restricter of freedom. It's sometimes confusing as it's unclear whether she's a villain or just someone trying to help. Perhaps that's the whole point! 

Sejal Keshwala is completely ballsy in her performance as Ray and wins over the audience in a matter of moments. Also giving a hugely strong and highly assured performance is Jordan Ricketts as the school bully and Jamie's tormentor Dean Paxton. The entire cast are the embodiment of joy and perfectly evoke the feelings of school life. Katie Prince's choreography excellently brings to life the often frenetic atmosphere of Jamie's life and is fresh and exciting to watch.

This is a musical which inspires us all to own what makes us 'different' and is just a lovely portrayal of family, friendship and acceptance. Contemporary, sassy and so very British, lets keep talking about Jamie!

photo credit: Matt Crockett