WHEN it comes to the future, Sheffield teenager Jamie New isn’t exactly encouraged to reach for the stars. “It’s come up with forklift truck driver,” says Jamie’s blunt schoolteacher Miss Hedge, waving a careers form at him.

But Jamie has no intention of getting into a forklift truck. He wants to be a drag queen. Oh, and he wants to wear a dress to the school prom...

Will Jamie work the dancefloor in his fabulous red high heels? What will Miss Hedge say? Or the other kids? Or his dad? Will he give up and conform - or follow his dream and be himself?

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a joyful ode to having a dream and not giving up, despite the odds.

Inspired by a 2011 documentary about a teenage boy who wanted to be a drag queen, the musical was a West End hit that became a film. It’s the story of 16-year-old Jamie, a working-class boy who sits in the classroom day-dreaming his way out of it. After meeting a drag queen mentor, and adopting his own drag persona, Jamie begins to spread his butterfly wings.

But along the way there are harsh reality checks, not least the prejudices of his estranged father and the classroom bigot.

Jamie with his drag queen 'family'Jamie with his drag queen 'family' (Image: Matt Crockett)

This is a funny, touching, ultimately uplifting show. But it doesn’t lose sight of real life struggles of class, race, gender and sexuality. Tom Macrae’s script sparkles, with some laugh-out-loud comic lines - “I always dress in designer clothes,” declares Jamie. “Nike, Adidas, Puma, you get me?” - and the score, by The Feeling frontman Dan Gillespie Sells, is fabulous.

I wasn’t familiar with the songs, and was hooked. From catchy pop numbers to full-on emotional showstoppers, they're beautifully performed, accompanied by an excellent live band in silhouette. And You Don’t Even Know It was a terrific opening number.

At the heart of the show is Jamie - Ivano Turco is a tour de force in the title role. Strutting across the stage, he’s feisty and sassy, with a poignant vulnerability. A mesmerising performance. And boy, can he dance in heels!

Ivano Truco is a tour de force as Jamie Ivano Truco is a tour de force as Jamie (Image: Matt Crockett)

Rebecca McKinnis was a class act as Jamie’s mother, Margaret. Fiercely proud of her son, she’s mired in the daily struggle of life as a single parent and her own demons. Highlights of the show included Rebecca’s powerful delivery of He’s My Boy and If I Met Myself Again.

Kevin Clifton, former Strictly champ turned musical theatre star, was hugely endearing as Hugo, a seasoned drag act who takes Jamie under his wing. He was fabulous as Loco Chanelle!

Kevin Clifton as Loco ChanelleKevin Clifton as Loco Chanelle (Image: Matt Crockett)

And Sam Bailey was a hoot as Miss Hedge, showcasing that fabulous voice.

Sam Bailey as Miss HedgeSam Bailey as Miss Hedge (Image: Matt Crockett)

Strong performances too from Talia Palamathanan as Jamie’s best friend Pritti, an aspiring doctor and easy prey for school bully Dean (Jordan Ricketts, excellent), Sejal Keshwala as Margaret’s no-nonsense pal Ray, and Anthony Gyde, Daniel Jacob and David McNair as the delightful drag queens.

A glorious celebration of individuality. Best musical I’ve seen all year.

* Runs at the Alhambra until Saturday.