Ahead of British musical sensation, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie landing in the Wales Millennium Centre this month, Sarah Bowdidge spoke to cast members Adam Taylor and Rhys Taylor about how it feels to come to Cardiff. (You can read Chris Williams’ preview of the show here, too.)
What’s the response to the show been like so far?
Rhys: The response to the show has been so amazing, especially the finale. You just get to have a big party on stage. Everyone’s always on their feet at the end of the show. Guaranteed!
Tell us a little bit about your characters.
Rhys: So the show is inspired by Jamie Campbell and his story, which has kind of been elaborated on; I play the role of Tray Sophisticay, who is one of the drag queens who mentors Jamie through his process of discovering who he is and his drag persona. I also cover for Shane Richie in the show – Shane plays the amazing Loco Chanelle, who is his main mentor. So I get to provide a little bit of extra glamour and sparkle.
Adam: I play one of the Year 11 students, Sayid, and I also cover Jamie [played in the show by Layton Williams]. Playing and covering a role like that is just really special: something that I, as well as a lot of other people, can connect with.
Rhys: What I love about this show is that we both get to connect with the characters that we’re playing and bring our own experiences because we are these people.
Excited about coming to Cardiff?
Rhys: I’m from Bridgend and both myself and Adam will be playing our covers in Cardiff, which is so exciting.
Adam: I’m from Barry. We both did musical theatre at Bridgend College. Yeah, ironic that we’re now in the same show!
Rhys: I saw my first ever theatre show at the Wales Millennium Centre and at the end of the show I just said – one day I want to come back and perform at this venue, it would be the best thing in the world. And we’re doing it!
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Do you think the story of Jamie Campbell – the real-life boy who inspired the musical – has in turn inspired others?
Rhys: I didn’t have this story to relate to growing up, so I can only imagine how I would have felt seeing this story being told. The show is relatable to a huge range of people from all different age demographics, you know – not just the community the show is based on, but everyday people. Parents or grandparents who can relate it to their family members who are struggling with the same issues, or who just started to express themselves: maybe they’re able to see behind the curtain a little bit and find a way to connect with them.
I think that’s lovely. The show deals with some deep subjects too, such as rejection from a family member. How is it performing as Jamie in those moments?
Adam: It’s heartwrenching, and it’s so raw. I just can’t imagine that story for myself – I’ve been very lucky, but it happens every day for a lot of people. Yeah, it’s a challenge but it’s powerful to portray at the same time.
How does the tour compare to seeing the show on the West End?
Adam: When the show came to the West End, I was one of the audience members at the end, giving a standing ovation. So to now be sharing that story… there’s nothing else like it.
Rhys: As far as the show you’re going to see, there’s very little difference. I’m so unbelievably proud of this cast, they are phenomenal and so talented.
What would you like an audience member to take away from the show after seeing it?
Rhys: I think the fundamental thing is to embrace who you truly are. Not the person you think other people will like or the person that people expect you to be. I think that is the moral of the story.
words SARAH BOWDIDGE
See Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Live
Wales Millenium Centre, Mon 15 – Sat 20 Nov