Kinky Boots: A Review

Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell should feel proud for portraying Harvey Fierstein (author of the book) and Cyndi Lauper’s (music and lyrics) vision perfectly for the UK 2018 – 2019 tour of an original West End musical, (that won Best New Musical in the 2016 Olivier Awards) Kinky Boots.

Kinky Boots Poster, Kayleigh Jones, (2018)

This outstanding musical is based on the 2005 British movie of the same name and is inspired by true events. The musical opens with Charlie Price longing to move to London with fiancé Nicola (Helen Ternent) to start a new life, as he does not share his father’s passion for shoe-making. However, Charlie’s father passes away, resulting in Charlie returning to Northampton, inheriting ‘Price and Son’s’, his father’s shoe factory, which is soon discovered that it is not profiting well and is in fear of being shut down. To help preserve his father’s legacy, Charlie strikes up a friendship with an unlikely cabaret performer and drag queen, Lola. Together, they decide to take the risk in producing a line of high-heeled boots, specifically targeted towards drag queens, to save his father’s business. As the musical progresses, Charlie and Lola discover that they have more in common than what meets the eye, as they prepare for their ultimate show-stopper on the catwalks of Milan.

Callum Francis (u/s Lola in Original West End production) stole the show as Lola, who we all immediately fell in love with as Land of Lola started with a roar. His portrayal of the drag queen was breath-taking as Lola revealed her struggles of not truly fitting in until she donned the impressive 6-inch heels, her disownment from her father and how she rose up to defy the norms of society to live her best life. All this was shown in the impressive numbers Sex is in the Heel’, What a Woman Wants and the soulful Hold Me In Your Heart’.

For me, the best part of the show was the friendship between Lola and Charlie (Joshua St. Clair; Wicked). The witnessing of a friendship blossom between two, worlds-apart people was beautiful, and this was emphasised in the emotional Not My Father’s Son. Joshua St. Clair, who replaced Joel Harper-Jackson as Charlie, was brilliant in conveying Charlie’s struggles with his discovery of what he wanted out of life, which climaxed with the solo Soul of a Man’.

Other excellent participants were the roles of Lauren, played by Paula Lane (Kylie from Coronation Street) and Don (Demitri Lampra). Lane’s solo, the hilarious The History of Wrong Guys brought the house down, so to speak, as we all rooted for her to get-the-guy. Lane also showed that she had much more to her than playing soap star Kylie, as she belted out the songs and shone next to St. Clair. Lampra’s Don was the antagonist that encompassed the hateful comments that society shouts out to anyone who is not seen as ‘normal’, in which he taught us all a valuable lesson to accept people as they are.

Lastly, Lola’s Angels (Connor Collins, John J. Dempsey, Damon Gould, Joshua Lovell, Chileshe Mondelle, Toyan Thomas-Browne) were fierce, feisty and magnificent, bringing all the sass whenever they entered the stage, precisely accentuating the message of this amazing musical – embrace and love yourself, and others around you will too. You will not be able to stop smiling, from the opening of Act 1 until the very end and after.

Kinky Boots, the musical, comes to Liverpool’s Empire Theatre, opening 25 March – 6 April 2019. Tickets are available now:

https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/kinky-boots/liverpool-empire/

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1 Response

  1. Jacqueline Jones says:

    Loving the review of kinky boots Kayleigh- a must see show that people think of as american when in reality it is truely british

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