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Everybody's Talking About Jamie


Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1V 7HD 0330 333 4809

Everybody's Talking About Jamie
  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices

This show returns on 28th November 2020.

CONTAINS ADULT MATERIAL AND STRONG LANGUAGE.
 

Sheffield. Jamie is bullied on his council estate, just for being different. All that changes in the spotlight...

 

Seen at the afternoon performance on 13th January 2018. Some actors have now left the cast.

Everybody's talking about Jamie? Not true. The monkey is babbling incoherently, sobbing occasionally and gesticulating anybody within range towards the box office.

This tale of self-discovery and actualisation is blisteringly honest, searingly moving, sizzling with emotional and hormonal energy and pulsating with the hugest and most original heart in London, bar none.

Gillespie Sells and MacRae create perfect, credible music and lyrics for characters ranging from school kids to single parents to retired and present drag artistes. Kate Prince has them moving on a fabulously gliding Anna Fleischle set.

Of the participants, leading man John Macrae (Jamie New) has all the bluster, self belief and vulnerability of 16. Mother Josie Walker (Margaret New) stops the show twice. Her "If I Met Myself Again" (danced by Kirstie Skivington and Marvyn L. Charles) had the monkey in mid-show tears for the first time since "Once" more than 5 years ago. Her later "He's My Boy" is delivered as a hymn to motherhood, another dazzling moment.

There's terrific work in the smaller roles too. Mentor Ken Christiansen (Hugo) has a lovely moment with "The Legend of Loco Chanelle" (as crazy as she sounds). Friend Lucie Shorthouse (Pritti Pasha) gets the beautiful "It Means Beautiful," a fabulous final speech to bring the house down - and a bedroom lamp she should probably steal at some point. Tamsin Carroll (Miss Hedge) does a lovely job trying to control the unruly mob, and drag team Alex Anstey (Laika Virgin), James Gillan (Tray Sophisticay) and an uncredited at this performance Sandra Bollock are the best. A beautiful "warm up" moment drew an unforgettable "yes, that's how we do it" from someone sitting a few rows behind the monkey, too.

The story is compelling, the music moves things along at a pace emotions hardly keep up with. It did everything for it that "Hamilton" really didn't. The whole thing just punches and punches and punches again, every single emotional button across the range. The whole is a learning experience with the ultimate message that there is nothing brave in being yourself in life - the bravery is leading life as yourself.

Really, really, do not miss this.

 

Legacy reader reviews

Important: Some reviews below can contain "spoilers" - please don't read if this bothers you!

In preview, we (whole family) enjoyed it – mostly – it has some great one liners in the first half. The music is really good, staging simple but well used with projection. The one thing that didn’t work for any of us is a dressing room scene at a drag queen show/club, which could (should?) be disposed of, it doesn’t really move the story forward, but I suspect it is there in part as a time filler covering something like a costume change. My younger, now 16 year old, daughter’s view (she who avidly watches every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix) was “if you’re going to do it, do it well”. I’ll be interested to see if critics comment.

The stage has been built out into the auditorium a bit I think, so if you are in the front row stalls you are very close to the stage, which is high and rises above the level of the top of people’s heads – I’m not sure that anyone’s head in the front row came above the stage floor. Consequently the viewing angle looks difficult in this row and I suspect that you struggle to see much, unless actors are at the front of the stage.

We were in G 15 and 16 and H 13 and 14. Excellent view and good value at preview price. Sound balance between orchestra and actors wasn’t right at times and we struggled to hear words in livelier numbers, but I’m sure they’ll sort out the levels over the preview period.
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We saw a preview performance of the show from the stalls, K7 and 8. They were good seats – sufficient leg room – but the rake is slight at that point and the seats there not being off-set did mean that I had to lean sideways at times due to the tallish person in front. However, it’s a musical with endless action so this wasn’t really a problem and it was a comfortable distance from the stage too.

The contrast of the very modern angular set against the ornate theatre was intriguing and there were screens up behind which sometimes acted as set and sometimes as back up to the action. The cast was mostly young (they were playing Year 11s and from the programme, many were in their first West End show) and the attitudes and situations expressed rang so true that you both laugh and wince watching them. The energy was extraordinary (you’d need to be young to dance like that!) and Jamie himself really grew on me through the performance – his acting was delicate and nuanced and his singing voice was wonderful - the standing ovations were well-deserved. The rest of the cast were also excellent, all immensely watchable, and with some amazing voices. Jamie’s mum (sorry, have mislaid my programme so can’t credit her by name!) sang a show-stopper of a song which must have reduced half the audience to tears (any parent, take tissues). I also loved Jamie’s close friend Pritti, another well-rounded character who sang her big number beautifully.

It’s a coming of age story and the ending was perhaps a little too easy, but we and the rest of the audience loved it all. Lots of laughter and applause throughout and standing ovations at the end. The language, for those who mind, includes quite a bit of swearing but not gratuitously so. For these characters not to swear would have been unconvincing!

Go and see it. You will have fun and anything that spreads the message of tolerance and acceptance is a good thing.
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Not a bad show, even from a £10 back row preview seat.
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I saw it last night (5th December 2017). Entertaining, but neither aweful nor awful. Choreography, amateur high school stuff. If this is "Billy Elliot" for this generation, they are pitifully one dimensional! Standing O from the Stalls. I must have coughed through the profound part.
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ETAJ was incredible!! I loved it!

B 5 and 6, £20 "day seats." The stage is insanely high. I’ve never seen a stage this high. I’m six foot and even I couldn’t really see what was going on stage a lot of the time; my five-foot friend had to get a booster seat!! Worse than Stomp and even worse than Garrick Scottsboro Boys. I think for £20 they should really advertise these seats as restricted view — the row behind (and at least the row behind that too) are basically restricted view as well, it seems to me!!

Anyway even with the absurdly high stage we still LOVED the show. Worth it if, like us, you’re unsure if it’s for you and you don’t want to pay top dollar. But we’re extremely keen to go back and get a seat in the circle. I’m not sure if any stalls seats actually offer a clear view of the actors’ legs and feet?

No regrets, but yeah, it is restricted view and they should have said that when I went to the box office this morning. it does say on the ticket, high stage will interrupt view, I suppose he should’ve just made that clear when I booked. He just said they were day seats. Still great value if you want a cheap ticket though. I’m more concerned about the row behind, and the stalls in general…
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Went on December 23rd 2017, feeling very Christmassy. A real feelgood show. Star performance from John McCrea. Above-average number of catchy/moving songs. Solid 4-stars.

Sat in Dress Circle A13, 14, 15 (premium price – a Christmas gift). Poor legroom (but not unbearable for us, all around 5ft5ins), brilliant sightline. Not worth the price, in my opinion.
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Thursday January 25th 2018. At 10am, only me in the queue! Was offered centre of front row (row B) for £20 each, or any other available seats for £25 each. As I had heard there was a high stage for this show, I opted for the second choice and was given D 11 and 12. Fabulous seats. And yes, the stage is high and shorter people would have a very restricted view from there. ( and what a great show ). 
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Saturday 17th February 2018. 1st in line at 8.15am, next people came around 8.45am. We got E28 and 29 in the dress circle for £25. Nobody in line wearing a dress but plenty of them during the performance, we loved it!!
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Saw matinee Saturday 17th February 2018. Absolutely brilliant show. Everybody should be shouting about Jamie. My wife and I thought it was one of the best shows we'd ever seen ( and we've seen plenty ! ). Impossible to describe how good it made us feel. We laughed and cried and cheered and talked about it for hours afterwards...what more could you wish for?

Our seats:N5 & N6 in the stalls. Clear, unobstructed view and felt quite close to the stage. 
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On Friday 16th February 2018 I went to see "Everybody's Talking About Jamie," which was wonderful - your review says it all. Would recommend this show to everyone. I sat in stalls K10, an excellent seat for £39.50 from TKTS booth on the day.
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The show is brilliant, really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t recommend the day seats in the front row, the stage is very high and you do miss a lot of the action. If you are offered seats further back in the stalls for £25 I would go for them, it’s worth the extra £5.
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May 2nd 2018, Matinee

Second at 08:55 in light drizzle, 3rd at 09:30 – no one else till the box office opened. I was offered a choice between seats up front for £20 or £25 for Stalls F7. Luckily I chose F7 as the stage is very high and would have been quite a bit above eye level in front row. The view from F7 is near perfect.

Legroom isn‘t great, wherever you sit. Or maybe I‘m just to tall. Anyway, it was bearable. And the nice young lady from Russia, who was sitting next to me, was rather tiny, so I could "steal" a bit of her space.

Clueless as I am, when "Everybody‘s Talking About Jamie" was originally announced, I thought it had something to do with Jamie Oliver and ignored it. It was only after reading the monkey‘s very enthusiastic opinion that I reconsidered. And I‘m glad I did. Who would‘ve thought the story of a boy who wants to become a drag queen could make for such a fun, and sometimes moving, musical? Maybe because it‘s not really about drag queens (although a few show up!), but about love and dreams, and that‘s rather universal.

Note: John Macrae had the afternoon off when I visited. His understudy, Luke Bayer, played the role of Jamie brilliantly.
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Attended the Matinee performance on Wednesday 16th May 2018. We had booked tickets on row X the back row of the stalls but as soon as we arrived the very friendly usher said we could move to a row further forward if we wanted to. We chose row T (seat 12 and 13) as I had recently had an op on my knee and the endless legroom was much appreciated as was the uninterrupted central view.

I love this show. It is so happy and funny and touching. Nearly a week later I'm still walking around with a warm glow inside every time I think about it.

The whole cast are brilliant. John Macrae is a fantastic lead as Jamie and has a great connection with Josie Walker as his Mum. I would mention everybody's names if I could because they all played their parts perfectly.

The music and lyrics fit in beautifully and everyone in the audience was humming away as they left the theatre. I did hear a couple of people complaining that they couldn't understand the accent in places but as a Yorkshire lass myself I thought the accent was really good not too over the top as is often the case. Its a long time since a show has made laugh, cry and laugh some more like this did.

I will definitely be booking to see it again before the end of it's run. The only downside - having to leave at the end. I wanted to stay in this happy place a bit longer!
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Took eldest daughter to see this on Saturday afternoon, 28th July 2018, prior to seeing 'Heathers' later at T Other Palace. We originally booked seats back in February on back row of stalls. Popped in to box office at about 10.30am on the day and managed to blag an upgrade to two seats centre of Row Q which turned out to be about as good as theatre seats get. Sad to see that stalls were far from full.

Can I use your excellent website to tell everybody that this is probably the best show in England at present? Yesterday was my third time...I saw it for the second time when it was beamed live to cinemas early in July....and it just keeps getting better. I can't find words to describe how bloody marvellous it is. All I can say is... just go.

Paul Nicholls.
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I saw “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” at the Apollo on Shaftesbury in London as part of "Buy A Gift." I booked in advance, and lady spoke to theatre direct and managed to get me better seats... was super nice.

We had seats E17 and 18 in the stalls. We were seated for 15 minutes but then someone came over and they had double-booked those seats somehow. So, my review of those seats were they were a bit off to the left side of the stage and looked decent but a bit far forward and lower than the stage so you probably would miss some things. (My guest complained it was too close and not central but I thought they were good seats, though my guest is much shorter and the stage is higher than our heads so he would not have seen as much.)

Because of the double-booking, we relinquished our seats (I think my guest agreed to be the one to move as he wasn’t happy with the previous seats) and got G9 and 10 in stalls which is nice and central but slightly further back so not quite as intimate with the actors but still feel a part of it. Could see whole stage without problem.
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15th September 2018. I got day seats B16 and 17 for £20 each... really high stage... I think next time I need to try further back, but love the show.
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Monday 29th October 2018.

We arrived at about 9am and were the only two people there until 9.30, when one more person arrived. A further two people arrived just as the box office opened at 10am. We wanted 3 seats, and were offered split seats at either end of the front row (the only front row seats were two at each end, I believe the rest are reserved for the lottery). We requested to sit further back due to other reports of the stage being quite high and managed to get K20-22 for £25 each. Normally £65 so we are pretty chuffed with that!

The seats we got were fantastic. The theatre is small, so actually anywhere further back would probably be fine. Being on the end of the row wasn’t an issue at all and we still had a full view of the whole stage and all of the action. 
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Paid the going rate, £35, for a seat in the Upper Circle (C20). Not the best seat in the world and a bit pricey but I could see everything and it was comfortable enough.

I found the show really tiresome, one and a half good songs the first of which is at the start of the show. It's too long and there are too many slow songs. The story is very drawn out and just fizzes out at the end. Where was the big prom number? They just file out through the back door.

Cast were good with what they had to work with and the band great.

I know some folks love it but it's not a patch on 'Kinky Boots'!

Taljaard.
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Tuesday 8th January 2019, sitting in stalls seat D4.

One of the reasons I went on a Tuesday was because I wanted to see John McCrea in the title role and I knew that he doesn't perform on Mondays or Wednesday matinees. And, of course, I wanted to see him before he leaves the show at the end of January, and he didn't disappoint! There were no understudies performing on Tuesday apart from the actor playing Cy.

Apart from the opening song, I did think the show dragged a bit for the first 10-15 minutes, but after that it really came alive, and carried me along on a wave of constantly changing emotions right to the very end! It was amazing! John McCrea was amazing! I can't believe he is 27 years old in real life. I don't normally like adults playing children or teenagers but in the case of John and his classmates I'll make an exception! He displayed such a wide range of emotions and actually cried real tears in a couple of scenes when he was rejected by his Dad after plucking up the courage to visit him, and again when apologising to his Mum for his behaviour. I can assure you it wasn't just sweat rolling down his face. I don't think I've ever heard a theatre audience fall so quiet, but then the tempo changed and we were back to "normal".

One character I really enjoyed was that of Hugo Battersby played by Lee Ross. I know that Lee is leaving the show soon, to be replaced by Shane Ritchie for three months, but can I suggest who would make a brilliant replacement? I don't know if you have ever watched the tv comedy series "Benidorm" on ITV, but Tony Maudsley who plays hairdresser Kenneth would be fantastic in the role I think!

Now on to my seat. I had a very good view although you couldn't see the floor of the stage as it was set quite high. If I was to see the show again it would definitely be from a couple of rows further back. Seat comfort was okay, although like the seats in the Playhouse Theatre it was quite small with limited legroom, but once again you could tuck your feet under the seat in front. Despite the seat being on the aisle, you couldn't stretch your right leg out due to the positioning of the seat in front. I would also probably stick to the low seat numbers as a lot of the action took place on this side.

So to conclude, another superb evenings entertainment, and I can see why Theatremonkey is so enthusiastic about the show! _______________________________________________________________

Jamie New is openly gay at just 16 years of age, nothing fazes him there, gleefully putting down the school bully with aplomb. But his real urge is to become a drag queen, and go to Prom in a dress. And that’s a whole different challenge. 

The show hits the ground running, with “And You Don’t Even Know It” pulling the audience in and getting them smiling. And the pace is held for most of the show (it does dip a little early on in the second half, but balancing the dark with the light, especially in such an upbeat show, is a hard task).

Jamie’s support team (his wonderfully accepting mum, her friend Ray, Jamie’s best friend at school Pritti, whose line “Am I your Fag-Hag” made me smile; my Mum as a young woman was great chums with a group of gay men, daring to go out in full makeup in an era that could get you arrested for doing so) all play their part in giving him the confidence to be himself. The other kids are accepting, the girls especially so.

Of course, there are detractors. School bully Dean can’t handle how Jamie just doesn’t care. And Jamie’s father? Won’t go into him (too many spoilers), but the panto boo from the audience when the cast took curtain call says it all.

Much is owed to John McCrea. He is all limbs, campness and joy… but he lets the insecurities peek out in a way that gets you on his side from the get go. I must also praise Rebecca McKinnis as Jamie’s mum, who supports her son’s life choices, goes without to help him, covers the truth about his vile father, plus steals the show with her rousing and emotional performance of “He’s My Boy”.

At heart, this is Billy Elliot with a killer red dress. It picks up on many of the same themes (resistance in places, support where it counts, a winning series of performances). If you’re going to borrow from anywhere, might as well do so from a show that got it right.

Much kudos has to go to Director, Jonathan Butterwell, who saw a news item about a boy who wanted to wear girl’s clothing to school and realised there was a musical in it. There was, there is, and it delivers.

The big theme of the show is acceptance. Would, I wondered, the reaction from schoolkids be as accepting in real life? Sitting up in the Gods, the average age of the audience around me was there or thereabouts the same as on stage (I loved the interval exchange between a teenaged girl and - I assume- her boyfriend “Have you ever thought of dressing like that? I think you would look really sweet.”). They cheered, they screamed, they showed utter acceptance. If this is the reaction from such a young crowd, then perhaps there is hope for this world.

Bob Pickett.
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Wow, what a show. I loved every minute of it.

We were in box C, so watching it from above, but fairly close to the action.

A really entertaining show, everything that is should be, happy, sad and funny in equal measures. Excellent cast all round, but I have to single out Rebecca McKinnis, "He's My Boy" had me in tears. What a song, what a singer. It pushed every single button.

I came out of the theatre feeling quite exhausted with the passing emotions, but exhilarated too. I can't recommend this one enough.

As usual. you were right!
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Stalls B18, seats were really bad in my opinion, but (day seat) price was really cheap so can’t really complain. Missed on a lot of action because of the stage height :( Ah well; will have to watch it again; Layton was fab :D.
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Queued for Jamie Day Seats on 16th October 2019. I arrived at 8.30am and was the first one there. A few people arrived just before 10am. Got B5 in the Stalls. As some have mentioned before the stage is really high so the view really wasn't great, but the show was amazing.
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Another day another theatre tickets sale (thanks Encore Tickets!).  I got Stalls J 19-21 for £40 each and again found your guidance invaluable when deciding whether to go for stalls or dress circle. 

We were really pleased with these. Row J is a perfect distance to not be bothered by the high stage, to see every facial expression and to still feel really close to the action. Leg room is ok because you can stretch out underneath the seat in front of you. The seats are almost at the end of a row but the angle isn't severe and doesn't particularly compromise the view. They are also in line with the door so handy for a quick escape at the interval or end. Would definitely recommend these seats especially if they are on offer!


 

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Runs 2 hours 40 minutes approximately.

Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

This theatre does not have specific seats held "off sale" like other theatres have done, to enable "social distancing." Their system automatically takes adjacent seats off-sale as the booking is confirmed. There will be at least a metre front to back and there will be an empty seat between each booking bubble. As a result, Seat prices applied will vary.

Apollo Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue Jamie prices

 

NO DAY SEATS OR LOTTERY ARE AVAILABLE UNTIL NORMAL PERFORMANCES ARE RESUMED - HOPEFULLY LATE IN 2021.

"Day Seats": A small number of seats - quantity and location at box office discretion - are available to personal callers at the box office before the performance on the day from 10am, priced £20 each. Limited to 2 tickets per person. The monkey always advises taking both cards and cash in case one is preferred over the other. Check with the box office before travelling if this policy is still in operation.

Online Lottery: Todaytix offers users the chance to secure tickets (19 on stalls row A) to that night’s performance priced £20 each. A lottery will run each day from midnight, via the app at Todaytix. If lucky enough to secure tickets, users are notified via push notifications or email and can then collect them from the theatre on the night.

Some details may change. The monkey will update as available.

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