Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’s Lucie Shorthouse: ‘I get to rock a hijab!’
Unbelievably, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – the fiercely political teen drag musical that chews up gender and spits it out – was already written and developed years before the advancements in gender politics spurred on by Me Too.
The show, billed as “a musical for today’s generation”, has garnered five-star reviews across the board, and cleaned up at this season’s awards ceremonies due to its fresh representation of a gay teenager exploring drag for the first time.
The show is so innovative because it isn’t a coming out story – Jamie was out years before we’re invited into his experimental life. In a landmark period for gender politics which has spanned the atrocity of Trump’s trans military ban and the awakening of the Weinstein scandal, Jamie feels like unbelievably good timing.
“Everything that’s happened politically just seems to have aligned,” Lucie Shorthouse reasons to PinkNews – she’s the newcomer actress who plays Muslim lead Pritti and Jamie’s best friend in the show.
Fresh from her WhatsOnStage Best Supporting Actress win, the rising star is tying gender politics and race into the searing relevance of Jamie today.
Growing up in Birmingham, Lucie was one of a minority of girls of colour in a mostly white school so Pritti, as much as lead Jamie, feels like a protest.
“It’s okay to rock a hijab!” Lucie gushes in a Fitzrovia haunt popular with acting types (as we’re chatting, David Morrissey wanders past looking pensive).
She’s got lots to say on the show’s diverse casting. “It’s important to be okay with yourself – but you can only do that if you’re seeing yourself represented.”
“I get to say ‘I wear a hijab because I want to.’ I don’t think I’ll utter words as important as that again in my career.”
Lucie exudes the same energy and passion for political change as her on stage character Pritti, who is a mix of supportive friend to Jamie and butt-kicking feminist go-getter.
“I’ve been trolled on Twitter for some of my views,” the star admits.
Lucie bemoans people who are “really Tory” and takes swipes at Trump. She talks lengthily about politics without snatching a breath.
Of the trolls: “I only respond if I think I can be clever with it. If I think, “You’re so dumb… You’re pro guns, you’re pro Trump,” there’s no getting through to you…”
Nevertheless, Jamie is a protest that speaks louder than social media. “Because Jamie is a musical it is automatically an easy sell. People want to see musicals from all walks of life. It doesn’t ram themes down your throat.”
In rare time away from the stage Lucie shares her messages with school children. “It’s important that theatre is made accessible so it isn’t just appealing to the liberal elite but enlightening all sorts of people” she insists.
“I’d love to see Jamie taken to more regional places in the UK, or Broadway. There’s been some talk… I’d love to see the show have a further life. Hopefully, I’d be a part of it.”
Despite saying her next role would ideally be “a complete departure from Pritti,” it’s jarring to think of Lucie leaving the world of Jamie behind. She seems like a glove fit.
“Jamie’s not just a dialogue,” she reveals, throwing a tenner on the table to cover our drinks, she refuses the PR’s cash. “We’ve got action, we’ve got results: we’ve got a musical.”
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is booking until October 6 at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue | Get tickets here