Everybody's Talking About Jamie heads to Eastbourne

What makes Jamie New quite so lovable is oddly – Ivano Turco says – the things that we don’t particularly love about him.
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“That’s what makes him feel so very human”, says Ivano who leads the cast as Everybody's Talking About Jamie continues to tour the country – with dates at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne from April 30-May 4 and the Kings Theatre, Southsea from May 6-11.

“You think about the story and there are some character choices that he makes where the viewers would think ‘Don't do that! Don't say that!’ and that is definitely what humanises him. You like him and then you don't like him and then you like him again and that's what makes it fun. It's a real journey.”

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Following a record-breaking three-year West End residency, a sold-out UK and Ireland tour and Amazon Studios’ award-winning film, the show tells the story of Jamie New who is 16 and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. Jamie is going to be a sensation, and supported by his brilliant loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness into the spotlight.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie - pic by Matt CrockettEverybody’s Talking About Jamie - pic by Matt Crockett
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie - pic by Matt Crockett

“I mirror his story to Icarus in some ways and we reference that a little bit. He flies too close to the sun. He finds his drag persona and he finds his drag mother but that over inflates his head and that takes him to a place where some of the other antagonists just don't exist and he goes in the other direction but by the end he is more stable. By the end of the show he has found himself.”

What makes him appealing is the fact that he is “very witty and very intelligent in his speech and he has a kind of humour that lends itself to his journey. It's still a very showman-esque humour, the way that he jokes and the way that he talks and that's part of the journey. At the beginning he just seems a very neutral queer at school, but we are told through his journey that it's OK to discover yourself but you don't have to be one thing all the time. You have to allow yourself to be true to yourself and you have to allow yourself to make mistakes. It's all the themes of love and acceptance and self-expression, but the key thing that really drew me to the role is that he's not necessarily characterised as a victim. He is gay and that's all there is to it. That's not what it's about but it's about being resilient and about allowing yourself to have space.”

Ivano first came across the film because the Jamie in the film was in the same year at Urdang with him: “We were in the same year in training and it was around the time that he was doing the rounds for the film but I pushed it to one side being a black actor. I didn't think that the role was necessarily accessible for me but then when I saw Layton Williams was cast then I realised it was within my scope and it was on the radar for me. I really wanted to do the role and my agent spoke to the team and we had a couple of meetings and we talked through what I could bring to the show.”