It is not easy to bring a musical you love from the stage onto the screen. Although Everyone’s Talking about Jamie is a West End favorite, they have not been seen by American audiences. But, a new movie adaptation has made it possible to take the show to global audiences.
Amazon Studios’ Everyone’s Talking about Jamie is inspired by the musical of Dan Gillespie & Tom McRae. This story was also inspired by , which is a documentary on Jamie Campbell (aka Fifi la True). Jonathan Butterell, the director of the stage version, makes his screen debut in this movie, along with McRae and Gillespie.
The musical is set in Sheffield, England and follows Jamie New (16 years old) as he attempts to be a drag queen. Jamie is supported by Pritti (his best friend), his mother Margaret and Ray. Jamie is raised in an English conservative town, attending Mayfield School where any deviation from the norm is shut down by teachers.
Max Harwood, a newcomer to the role of Jamie New is a wonderful actor (“the boy so kind he came out two times!” Max Harwood brings nuance and range to Jamie New’s character. He is trying to figure out his place in the world while sporting a pair of red birthday heels.
Happy Valley‘s Sarah Lancashire plays the role of Jamie’s loving mother, Margaret. She is so supportive of her son that she even covers for Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones’ Ralph Ineson). Margaret supports Jamie in being herself, and Ray (Shobna Guilati), who honestly can’t wait to get on the screen.
Richard E. Grant’s signature theatricality is evident in his portrayal Hugo, aka Miss Loco Chanelle. Hugo assists Jamie in his long journey through self-loathing, hesitance and finally confidence to drag.
Jamie discovers that Drag is more than a television show. It’s also a revolutionary concept. Director Butterell replaced “The Legend of Loco Chanelle” and the Blood Red Dress on the stage with a new song written by Gillespie. This film is called “This Was Me.” This historic reflection was paired with footage of Loco Chanelle’s past, including drag shows and marches for LGBTQ rights. It also contains heartbreaking reminders of the AIDS epidemic in the UK. Hugo sings, “Even Freddie could not stay,” in a moving moment.
Fans can still enjoy the powerful harmonies of “Over the Top”, a battle-ready track by Legs Eleven (the drag stars who played the song by Myra Dubois and Son of a Tutu) by their Legs Eleven girls. There’s even a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in the film from drag superstar Bianca Del Rio herself, who once played the role of Hugo in the West End production. Jamie tells Pritti that this is Sheffield and not San Francisco, which gives us a hint at her appearance. I’m Jamie New, not Bianca Del Rio.”
Sharon Horgan , the often hilarious Sharon Horgan assumes the role as conservative careers teacher Miss Hedge. She pushes her year 11 students to be realistic about their expectations of obtaining a job that does not include performing. However, Miss Hedge believes that job advice is not enough. She pushes her conservative views against the easily-intimidated principal Iman Masood, (Adeel Khantar), and discourages Jamie from speaking out at school. In fact, she mocked Jamie for doing so in the flatly sinister “Work of Art.”
Lauren Patel plays Jamie’s friend Pritti well. She is bullied at school because she is Muslim. Pritti is given the chance to “out of darkness”, with the disco ball-clad song “Spotlight,” and one of the best scenes in the movie’s final scenes. Pritti is given the type of cameback scene you would love to write, without spoiling any details. Patel’s performance in this scene was perfect.
Everyone’s Talking about Jamie has a wide range of musical numbers. They include choreographed dancing performances to simple songs sung in the kitchen. The most well-known earworm number, “And You Don’t Even Know It,” features a fast parade of brightly coloured fluorescent colours that dances its way through Jamie’s glamorous fantasies. And the title song channeled big High School Musical “Stick to Status Quo” vibes at the canteen. There are also intimate moments like “My Man, Your Boy”, which Jamie and Margaret sing at the kitchen table. Although some of the flashback work in “The Wall in My Head”, a ballad, is somewhat cheesy, I will sing it in my backyard with all of my heart, thank you.
A few new songs have also been added to this film. They are all good, feel-good tunes that do not feel out of place.
This film adapts a poignant, uplifting version of a show that focuses on finding confidence and doing the work to be your best, truest self. To balance the film, I’ll say that there is a terrible line about epileptic caterpillars. Some moments feel rushed through. The film version Everyone’s Talking about Jamie has a lot more to offer than that.
Publited at Thu 16 Sep 2021, 16:44.03 +0000