entertainment

'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' review: A star is born as newcomer Noah Thomas makes debut

"'...Jamie' remains the most vibrant and uplifting show of anything currently on in the West End."

2020-01-22

Words: Simon Button

As the new Jamie New in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Noah Thomas is so good he’s sure to inspire lots of ‘Star is born’ headlines and social media raves - and this thrilling young talent deserves every piece of praise that’s heading his way.

Fresh out of drama school, he brings a fresh new take to the role of the Sheffield schoolboy who dreams of being a drag queen and causes quite a stir when he vows to attend the prom in a dress.

Thomas is following in some very daunting footsteps: John McCrea, who first played Jamie in Sheffield and in its subsequent West End transfer, and Bad Education's Layton Williams, who took over from McCrea and is taking Jamie on tour from 8 February.

Image: Matt Crockett

John’s comic timing was peerless and Layton is fierce and fabulous, but Noah has a heartwarming vulnerability and a caught-in-the-headlights youthfulness that makes him not just the most age- appropriate Jamie to date but also the most endearing one.

Plus he’s got a wonderful smile, a cracking pair of legs and a fantastic singing voice. Talk about your triple threats!

And talking of fantastic singing voices, Melissa Jacques is terrific as his loving mother Margaret and there’s not a dry eye in the house when she sings the heart-tearing ballad ‘He’s My Boy’ (one of many brilliant songs penned by Dan Gillespie Sells).

Likewise when Hiba Elchikhe, so good as Jamie’s self-proclaimed fag hag Pritti Pasha, sings ‘It Means Beautiful’ as a heart-wrenching ode to being Other.

Image: Matt Crockett

As Margaret’s gobby best mate Ray, Sejal Keshwala also makes you cry - with laugher. As does Roy Haylock aka Bianca Del Rio (who also appears in Attitude's February Travel issue) whose penchant for world-weariness and snarky asides makes him perfect for the role of former drag sensation Loco Chanelle. When he comes out in full drag regalia towards the end of act one, he/she brings the house down.

I’ve said it before, repeated it and I’ll say it again: Jamie remains the most vibrant and uplifting show of anything currently on in the West End. It’s small-scale but it makes a massive noise as an 'I'm here, I'm queer' musical which speaks directly to today's LGBTQ youth in a way no other show ever has before.

The class of 2020 in general, and Noah Thomas in particular, are loudly, proudly keeping it just as vibrant and uplifting as this most wonderful of musicals has ever been.

Rating: 5/5

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. For great deals on tickets and shows click here.