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Davor Golub

Review: Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots - London Welcome home ‘Kinky Boots’. The 2013 Tony Award winning Best Musical has landed in the United Kingdom and has definitely benefited from the journey home. When I first saw this show, which is set in Northampton, in previews on Broadway, and then again recently in Toronto with the Canadian cast, I couldn’t help but feel that a certain Britishness was lacking in both productions...

I am therefore happy to report that the London company of this feel good show adds an authenticity to this story that helps lift it up to musical comedy heaven. On the night I saw the show the audience leapt to their feet at the end in a joyous, dancing standing ovation.

Based on the 2005 film of the same name, which itself was based on a BBC documentary, Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price, the son of a shoe factory owner who inherits his father’s struggling factory and is forced to take charge. A chance meeting with a drag queen named Lola inspires Charlie to begin manufacturing custom footwear for drag queens and in the process the two men discover that they are not so different after all as well as what it really means to be a man.

This is a show that knows what its audience wants and does not fail to deliver

In the rather thankless, straight-laced role of Charlie, Killian Donnelly brings a warm goofiness to the character and sings the demanding Cyndi Lauper score with an exciting pop/rock voice. However, the star of the evening is always going to be Lola the drag queen and Matt Henry does not disappoint. His Lola is funny, sassy and touching and his voice is a fabulous mix of Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. Special commendation must also go to Lola’s six ‘Angels’. These drag queens sing, dance and prance fabulously about the stage whipping the audience up into a frenzy.

The book by Harvey Fierstein is in turns humorous and touching. Whilst Jerry Mitchell’s inventive direction and staging ensures that the show never stops moving and the dances are as high energy as Cyndi Lauper’s infectious tunes demand they be. This is a show that knows what its audience wants and does not fail to deliver.

Kinky Boots