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Kinky Boots

  • Theatre, Musicals
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. © Helen Maybanks
    © Helen Maybanks

    David Hunter (Charlie Price) 

  2. © Matt Crockett
    © Matt Crockett
  3. © Helen Maybanks
    © Helen Maybanks
  4. © Johan Persson
    © Johan Persson

    Jamie Baughan (Don) and Matt Henry (Lola)

  5. © Matt Crockett
    © Matt Crockett

    Matt Henry (Lola) and Angels

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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Cyndi Lauper's fabulous footwear-based musical has a real kick to it

Fabulously sassy, uplifting and ever so kinky, the Tony Award-winning musical that’s been dazzling audiences has finally high-kicked its way from Broadway to the West End.

RECOMMENDED: Read an interview with Cyndi Lauper

Based on true events, the story about a struggling Northampton shoe factory began life as an independent film, following in the footsteps of Brit-hits ‘Billy Elliot’, ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘Made in Dagenham’, before being transformed into a musical.

Directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, with music and lyrics by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, ‘Kinky Boots’ follows factory owner Charlie Price (Killian Donnelly) whose chance encounter with drag queen Lola (Matt Henry) inspires a production line of sexy heels for transvestites that helps save the family business. 

This show is a lot of fun and the script plays up the comedy well, offering the cast some brilliantly tongue-in-cheek one-liners. It’s unfortunate that the script falls flat during the romantic storyline between Charlie, his fiancée and factory co-worker Lauren, which comes across as uneven and flimsy. 

That can be forgiven, though, as it’s the eccentric costumes and high-octane dance numbers like ‘Sex Is in the Heel’ that draw the audiences in. 

Henry gives Beyoncé a run for her money with some athletic dance moves, accompanied by a chorus line of incredibly toned drag queens. Some of the full company numbers are particularly well put together – especially the stylized boxing sequence during ‘In This Corner’ and the seamlessly choreographed ‘Everybody Say Yeah’ which is a delight to watch.

It’s not all glitz and high-kicks though; there are some grittier moments that give the show an edgier feel. 

Donnelly is very natural as Charlie and has some great comedic moments; however he’s often overshadowed by Henry who leads the ballad ‘Not My Father’s Son’ with a flawless vocal that feels genuine and heartfelt, proving he’s mastered the character’s light and shade perfectly.

Despite some saucy subject matter the show manages to uphold a family-friendly feel and tackles the matter of gender and sexuality well. It’s not groundbreaking, but the message of accepting ourselves and each other’s quirks is uplifting and relates to men, women and ‘those who have yet to make up their minds’. 

Now, where can I get myself a pair of those boots..? 

By Time Out reader NATALIE GROVER, for our reader takeover issue in September 22 2015. 

Killian Donnelly and Matt Henry will return to play the roles of Charlie and Lola respectively from Monday 26 – Wednesday 28 November 2018

Oliver Tompsett is now playing Charlie, with Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Lola.

How to get cheap tickets: a limited number of day seats for night’s performance will go on sale at the box office every morning from 10.30am, priced £20 each. In person only. Tickets are limited to two per person.

Details

Address:
Price:
£19.50-£125. Runs 2hr 30min
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