★★★★☆ | 4 out of 5 stars

Everybody knows that school days are the best of your life. But what if you’re a 16-year-old boy in Sheffield who doesn’t care to become a forklift truck driver like his career teacher has advised and instead longs to become a drag queen and wear a dress to the school prom?

That was the real-life dilemma for Jamie Campbell the inspiration for the surprisingly feel-good, fun and feisty musical everybody’s been talking about since it took the West End – and the world – by storm back in 2017 and is now on its second tour of the UK.

Bought to the stage by director Jonathan Butterell who was captivated after flicking through the TV channels and chancing upon a documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, the show has starred Strictly sensation Layton Williams high kicking his way into everyone’s hearts as Jamie New, the gay teenager who wants to wear girls’ clothes.

Now the musical is on it’s fourth Jamie, Ivano Turco, but it was understudy Finton Flynn who donned the leading man’s impossibly high red shoes to strut the stage in on opening night at Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre and was simply sensational.

Oozing star quality, with a voice as big as his dazzling smile, he bought a touch of fragility that was just below the surface of the flamboyant teen who was ridiculed for his sexuality by the school thug, rejected by his uber masculine father and adored by his single mother.

He was up against some serious singing and dancing talent – The X Factor’s 2013 winner Sam Bailey plays Miss Hedge, the uptight teacher who bans Jamie from going to the prom in a dress, while Kevin Clifton, a former professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing, shows off his acting chops and incredible voice as mentor Hugo and drag queen supreme Loco Chanelle.

The story is a fable of modern times. Jamie is best friends with Pritti, the geeky smart girl BFF in specs and a hijab played by Talia Palamathanan, trying to navigate his final year and find the courage to wear the perfect dress to prom.

Cue plenty of toe-tappingly catchy pop tunes by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells, and writer Tom MacRae (Doctor Who), gags galore, the odd swear word (or ten!), a slick production with a set straight out of the West End, and a trio of hilarious drag queens that deserve their own spin-off show.

And by the prom scene the entire audience – as well as Jamie’s school friends – are willing him to arrive looking like Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala, and are on their feet for the finale for a dance-and-sing-a-long with the cast.

The show is on until Saturday 4 May and is a brilliant night out that will guarantee to have you leaving the theatre with a grin – after all it’s a great West End show on your doorstep. Ivano is back in the red heels from Thursday but try to catch Finton on Wednesday as he’s the one everyone will be talking about.

Tickets: Wed- Thu 7.30pm & Thu 2.30pm £28 - £49, Fri 7.30pm & Sat 2.30pm & 7.30pm £30 - £51, under 16s £10 off, Congress Theatre.