Out of the darkness…into the spotlightPritti pasha
everybody’s talking about jamie
On the 7th of June, I booked tickets with my mum to go and see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie for the matinee the next day (Saturday the 8th), one of the best last-minute trips we’ve done! I’ve wanted to see ETAJ since seeing it in the cinemas earlier in the year and then again with the performance Layton and Sabrina’s performances at Magic at the Musicals, so I was thrilled to find out that there were still tickets for the matinee left!
If you don’t know ETAJ is a real story that follows a young boy in Sheffield called Jamie who wants to be a Drag Queen, as well as his ups and downs being high school student. This heartwarming musical will make you laugh, make you cry and will leave you with the songs inside your head for days!
Layton Williams as Jamie New!
I have known of Layton since around 2010 when I used to watch him on a BBC series called School For Stars, a series that focused on the Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts and the kids that were learning there. It’s amazing to see how far he has come! His performance as Jamie was OUTSTANDING! His vocals, his dancing, his acting and his ability to walk in heels, amazing! Yes, I count the ability to walk in heels as talent. I know I have said this with other people before but especially with Layton you forgot that he was playing the part of Jamie, you felt like he was Jamie. This boy’s vocal ability is insane! My favourite song from the soundtrack is a song called ‘Wall In My Head’ a song Jamie sings about overcoming a mental wall, which in this case was from words that his father said about his sexuality/dreams, seeing it live was INCREDIBLE, you really felt each word of what Layton was singing. One more thing about Layton’s performance that I must add is WOW at his ability to walk in heels! But not only walk in heels, dance in heels, and when I say dance I don’t mean just a little two-step I mean DANCE, his leg muscles were insane! At one point in the show, he flicks his leg up and it goes PAST HIS EAR, as someone who falls over walking on a flat surface and is incredibly unflexible I was amazed! Teach me how Layton 😂. In
Rebecca McKinnis was amazing as Margaret (Jamie’s mum), especially during both of her solo songs but especially ‘If I Met Myself again’, like ‘Wall In My Head’, I always love listening to that song on the soundtrack but seeing it live was something else, you could feel the raw emotion radiating off Rebecca as she sang the song, same again with ‘He’s My Boy’ in the second act. Her mother and son bond with Layton made you forget that they weren’t related because they really did seem that close.
Courtney Bowman was one of the understudies we got the pleasure of seeing, Courtney who normally plays Fatimah was amazing as Pritti! I love it when understudies are on and get a chance to shine in a bigger role! And let me tell you Courtney SHONE as Pritti! I love both of Pritti’s songs on the soundtrack (I know I’m saying I love practically all the songs but they are all so good!), Spotlight was incredible live! One of my favourite performances from the show, her vocals were incredible! I loved all of her and Layton’s moments on stage together!
Faye Tozer as Miss Hedge…If you say you never had a teacher like Miss Hedge you are lying to yourselves, the character brought back memories of high school teachers and I’m sure I’m probably not the only one who thinks that. Although Miss Hedge is one of the main characters she doesn’t get much time to shine, solo-wise, she has one verse in ‘And You Don’t Even Know It’ and is the main singer in the song ‘Work of Art’ but although those 2 parts aren’t the biggest I loved them! Like I said if you don’t get High School flashbacks from her performance you didn’t pay attention properly because Faye was great in the role
I also got the pleasure of seeing James Gillian in the role of Hugo/Loco Chanelle and it was fabulous! So many talented and funny understudies in the West End currently! Let me tell you, he has some pipes! His performance during ‘The Legend of Loco Chanelle’ was wonderful! He was great as both Hugo and Loco, would anyone else just LOVE a Loco spin-off?! I loved him as a sort of father figure/mentor to Jamie, especially at the end when he comes to Jamie’s prom along with Jamie’s mum and Ray, I don’t know their father/son bond just makes me feel warm inside and James portayed it brilliantly along side Layton!
I also enjoyed Sejal Keshwala as Ray! She was hilarious! Loved her friendships with both Margaret and Jamie as the family friend/’aunt’ that Jamie isn’t related to but would still call aunt. She also has a great voice, showcased in ‘Limited Edtion Prom Night Special’ which unfortunately is a small part, would love to have heard more!
2 quick things before I go:
The two dancers who were the dancers in ‘When I Met Myself Again’ were incredible! I couldn’t take my eyes off of them! The emotion they put into the dance was perfect! I wish there was just a dance video to that song on YouTube because I would just watch it again and again!
In conclusion ETAJ is a heartwarming musical that’ll make you laugh, make you cry and leave you wanting to rebook tickets to go and see it again because you would love to live in this musical world where there is minimal doom and gloom and where you can sing your way through any situation flawlessly for the rest of your life!