EVERYONE's talking about Jamie and quite right, too. He deserves it.

This tale of a determined school boy who wants to be a drag queen has had a rapid rise to fame (by usual theatre standards, that is) and is based on the true story of Jamie Campbell.

The real life Jamie would certainly get a degree in charisma.

He was in the audience for the first night of a week-long Empire run.

Jamie wanted his story heard back in 2011, so wrote to UK documentary-makers until one picked up on the bold sojourn of a lad who wanted to wear a dress to the school prom in County Durham.

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The documentary inspired the stage musical, which became a West End hit and now a film.

It has elements of Billy Elliot and Kinky Boots but has the upper hand on those two hits, because it has even more sharp and funny dialogue that resonates with so many of the wide-aged group audience who have taken this modern day show with a message to their hearts.

Jamie becomes Jamie New and the action is moved to Sheffield where a school is rife with racism, bullying and homophobia, but let's not forget there's also the positivity of camaraderie.

Jamie knows what he wants and playing the lead role is a real star in Layton Wiliams (pictures below), who has made the role his very own.

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There are some super performances from other members of the large cast in this two-hour 40 minute production.

Amy Ellen Richardson excels as the supportive mum figure.

Her voice reminded me of the great Karen Carpenter, notably, on some heart-touching numbers.

The inventive set allows for back projections and accomodates a live band high up on a top tier.

There is an adaptable stage revolve which takes us into Jamie's home life where he is also comforted by 'aunt' Ray, played by Shobna Gulati (pictured, below) who has razor-sharp delivery.

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Another favoutite with the audience is Jamie's best pal - Pritti Pasha played by the confident Sharon Phull.

Bianco Del Rio (Roy Haylock) plays the inspirational American drag quuen Loco Chanelle (aka Hugo) who has a heart of gold.

The many plus points throughout are that the characters are immensely likeable - apart from the school bully, but all works out well at the end of term.

The songs by Dan Gillsepie Sells and Tom Macrae are top-notch and reminscent of the global hit Rent which also hit all the right notes.

Everyone's Talking About Jamie tells a relevant tale for today and is a breath of fresh air.

It's about individuality and refusing to be pigeon-holed or being told by the careers teacher what you should be and not what you want to be.

A standing ovation showed just how much affection there is for this show with a big, pulsating heart.

Stylish, sparkling storytelling.

Five stars.

The production is at the Liverpool Empire until Saturday.

Tickets from the box office on 08448717615