Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Layton Williams:
It must have felt challenging for Layton Williams to figuratively step into the shoes vacated by original Jamie New – John McCrea and alternate Jamie Luke Bayer for the January 2019 cast change. Both actors were revered for the role by their deeply loyal fan-bases.
For those who have seen Layton Williams in action before, the role of the sixteen-year-old from Sheffield who dreams of becoming a drag queen was an obvious choice. With his natural flamboyance and beautiful dancing, Williams certainly has the dreams, style and moves to make you smile.
There’s not many musicals I watch more than once or twice and none I think I’ve seen as many as six times, which is the current running score for this show.
In this time, I’ve seen four different Miss Hedges, three different Jamies, Dean Paxton play Jamie’s Dad, Jamie’s Dad double as a Legs Eleven drag queen and Melissa Jacques play both Miss Hedge and Jamie’s mum.
It was fascinating seeing Hayley Tamaddon bring a different element to Miss Hedge, the character who typifies your average Head of Year in a secondary academy school. I’ve had several conversations with Miss Hedge types in the past and none have ended particularly well – this is why I like the character. She’s scarily accurate.
Hayley brings a much warmer element to the character, making her more a misguided mentor type rather than the bullish person she is often played as. This makes the bigoted comments she makes in the meeting with Jamie’s mum and Ray even more jarring.
In the current cast is Shane Richie as Hugo/Loco Chanelle, who has a career in theatre and TV spanning several decades, making this a popular casting choice, but not a tacky stunt casting choice.
This is a show which hasn’t stopped shining since it kicked off at Sheffield Theatres in 2017. A tour has been announced for 2020, with dates and venues to be announced.
For more information about the show, or to book, visit: www.everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk