Everybody’s Talking About Jamie continues to go from strength to strength with the recent announcement the hit musical will be screened in cinemas this summer. We speak to ‘Pritti’ from the show, played by the WhatsOnStage Award winning …
Firstly, many congratulations on winning the WhatsOnStage award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. How did that feel?
Incredible! It was such a shock but it was so great to know people had taken Pritti pasha to their hearts!.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie seems to be the show that everybody else is talking about. However, for those who aren’t in the know, can you give a brief synopsis of the show?
The show is about a sixteen year old boy who wants to explore the world of drag and the trials and tribulations that follow – who supports him, who has reservations. The message is really about celebrating your own truth and being courageous in your convictions. It’s based on a true story.
Why do you think it has struck such a chord with the public and the critics?
Despite the show being somewhat niche – about an aspiring drag queen – its core is very universal. It is about existing outside of fear and pursuing your dream. It’s also about unconditional love and support – between that of Jamie and his mum and close friends – and how integral a strong network can be.
In the show you play Jamie’s best friend Pritti. Was there anything about her and the obstacles she faces that resonated with you?
Pritti really reminds me of myself in school. I was very academic and actually quite reserved. I struggled to trust myself and not worry about every little thing. She’s very wise beyond her years and really stands by her convictions and even now she encourages me to accept myself and not apologise for who I am.
You’ve been with the show ever since its first workshops back in 2015. You and the rest of the original cast and creatives must feel quite the tight-knit family now?
I have such love for the cast especially those I’ve been with since the workshop. I have a crazy amount of admiration and respect for John McCrea he’s so supremely talented and about the work; I’ve been very lucky to keep learning from him since the workshops.
Through the show’s journey to the West End, have there been any major changes or developments to your character and the story?
No major changes but as an actress you make more discoveries and revelations. In the West End transfer it’s been great to grow with the character and see more people embrace her.
Was there anything in particular that you did when preparing for this role?
I definitely researched particularly about the Islamic faith and the specificity of the community in Sheffield where we were placing our show. I have Islamic family members so it was great to pick their brains and handle the portrayal as sensitively and nuanced as possible.
Being a new musical and an original cast member too, how much input did you personally get to put into the show’s creation? Was it a collaborative environment?
It was a very imaginative creative space to work in and our director really encouraged us to put our artistic stamp on the characters. It’s been great watching everyone develop and evolve with their character. It’s been very collaborative and it still is; we’re always negotiating what works on stage and what maybe doesn’t.
How does it feel to see the show blossom into such a West End hit, with talks of possibly transferring to Broadway?
No insider Broadway gossip as of yet but I would love to see the show reach more audiences.
This is the first, big West End musical people will have seen you in. Did you have much of a background in musical theatre before?
I didn’t train in musical theatre, only acting so the singing and dancing is still a struggle for me – I used to dance as a kid but certainly not to a professional standard! I’ve never had a singing lesson either so it’s been a real learning curve.
What made you get into acting in the first place – is it something you have always wanted to do?
I just always loved telling stories and the thrill of the stage!
If you weren’t an actor what do you think you would do instead?
If I wasn’t acting I’d probably be a teacher I find it very rewarding or something involving animals!
What’s the best thing about being an actor and life in London?
The best thing about being an actor is knowing you’re telling a story that’s challenging people or enlightening them in some way. The best thing about life in London is how diverse it is! A real melting pot and there’s a possibility to be anything you want to be!
Lucie was talking to Phoebe Cole
Production photography by Johan Persson
Lucie photograph by Jack Alexander
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Booking until 6th October