• review by John Murray

Everybody's Talking About this show

One of the most talked about stage musicals returns to Edinburgh this week and what a production it is. Winner of the What’s On Stage Awards as Best New Musical it was a delight this week to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. West End star Layton Williams brings his talent to the Edinburgh stage and is supported by Rhus Taylor as Hugo standing in for Shane Ritchie. Star spotters though will love George Samson as Dean Paxton with still some glimpses of his energetic dance moves. When he was just fourteen, he of course won Britain’s Got Talent dancing to Singin’ In The Rain.

The story surrounds sixteen-year-old Jamie on his Sheffield council estate where he doesn’t fit in. Supported by his mum and school friends he sets out to beat the bullies and the prejudices and step into the spotlight. There are barriers along the way from his father who disowns him, the school bully and the school staff who are most discouraging. It is a story for these times and a great example of how diversity can conquer over all.

The score was written by Dan Gillespie Sells from The Feeling and Tom MacRae from Doctor Who and the songs are dynamic from the opening, And You Don’t Even Know It. The Legend Of Loco Chanel (And The Blood Red Dress) from Hugo is camp heaven as is Over The Top with Legs Eleven girls. Amy Ellen Richardson plays Margaret, Jamie’s mum and her solo pieces If I Met Myself Again and the fans favourite, He’s My Boy. By the time we get to the triumphant finale with the full company on Out Of The Darkness we are truly cooking, and the audience are on their feet. This show is a joy to see and experience live.

Show time goes in so fast with the use of an inventive set moving from school room to exteriors to kitchen and the choreography led by dance captain Simeon Beckett never lets up as the full stage is used as are the desks to show a spectacular array. Ben Atkinson the Musical Director is on stage the whole time with his band high above the action and kept in step by Edinburgh drummer and percussionist Dave Stewart.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre until April 2nd Tickets HERE

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