Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. Jamie is going to be a sensation.
Based on the BBC3 Documentary Jamie:DragQueen at 16, this is a musical written with an original score of catchy pop tunes by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling Dan Gillespie Sells and writer Tom MacRae (Doctor Who), this brand-new musical will have everybody talking about Jamie for years to come.
You may have seen the recent film version on Amazon Prime (which should’ve been in the cinema but owing to covid – wasn’t) and maybe I’ll do a review of that – and then we can compare and contrast the two versions
Anyway, back to the performance at Wales Millennium Centre. For transparency we paid for our tickets – this is not a press review (if you’ve read my stuff before you’ll know this to be true)
With Layton Williams as Jamie and Shane Richie as Hugo it makes for a terrific pairing. Both have played the parts in the West End and this certainly shows.
Might be wrong of me to say this, but Layton is my favourite Jamie (sorry Max). There was something a bit more real about his performance now this might be to do with the difference between film and stage.
Other mentions must go to Amy Ellen Richardson as Jamie’s mum. Her “My boy” was one of the “hair standing up on the back of the neck” moments of the performance as well as Sharan Phull’s performance of “Beautiful” – so simplistic but such a perfect version.
The theatre version is a far more gritty realisation of the production. If anyone thought they’d be seeing a live version of the film – wrong! There’s reasons why things have changed in the film (Hugo’s back story for example) as there’s a bigger toy box to play in with more cinematic tricks – and it helps the pace. Oh and whilst on the subject of Hugo – love the Les Mis reference. The character is Hugo – he works in Victor’s Secrets – Hugo Victor – author of the original Les Mis novel.
The music is catchy without trying, and the stage production looked amazing.
“Jamie” might not be your favourite ever musical but it deserves to be recognised for what it brings. Everybody’s talking about Jamie – and for good reason! There’s a lot of new contemporary musicals that have come out the past few years and Jamie’s storytelling and feel good theme keep it standing out from that crowd – no heels required!
Verdict: it’s a little bit of Glitter in the Grey!
Reviewer: Patrick Downes