Olivier Awards – public panel application 2018

It’s that point in the year again: Olivier Award public panel application time! After getting to the interview stage last year (better than 2016 and 2015) I was hoping to do it again this time round but it wasn’t to be. Bit of a shame, as there isn’t yet a big front-runner for next year’s awards as far as I can see (Harry Potter last year was obvious, this time round it should be Hamilton) so it would have been an intriguing viewing and voting process.

A reminder that, to apply, you just have to provide a list of your theatregoing from the past twelve months and include a 150-word review of one of those shows. I did quite well at reviewing most things that I saw (and I prefer to write about something I’ve not already reviewed for this), so there wasn’t a huge amount of choice – I almost went for The Grinning Man, as I’d just been to see it, but I didn’t think I could do it justice in such a short block of text, so instead I took on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie…

John McCrea in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Photo credit: Johan Persson

All 16-year-old Jamie New wants is to be a drag queen, but there are significant obstacles in his way as he pursues his dream – not least the small matter of the school prom. Based on a 2011 BBC Three documentary, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a brand new British musical written by Tom MacRae, backed by a vibrant pop score from The Feeling’s Dan Gillespie Sells.

It would probably work well as a straight play, however Gillespie Sells’ music and Kate Prince’s choreography provide an extra bit of pizazz that feels intrinsic to the story.

John McCrea is a natural leading man, plucked from relative obscurity to star as Jamie. He imbues his character with a combination of exuberance and insecurity, belting out his songs with truly distinctive vocals. He is emotionally supported by onstage mum Josie Walker (Margaret).

A real 21st century coming-of-age tale.

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