Kinky Boots

‘A show that the world needs right now’: KINKY BOOTS – Touring ★★★★

In Musicals, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Sophie GarrodLeave a Comment

Touring – reviewed at Wales Millennium Centre

Kinky Boots is a show full of glitz, glamour and some amazing positive messages that everyone could do with remembering, especially today. Set in Northampton, Charlie Price is forced to take over the family business at Price and Son shoe factory following his father’s death. As paths unexpectedly cross with drag queen Lola, the pair work together to re-invent the shoe factory and make knee-high fabulous 6-inch boots for drag queens.

The story is very familiar to audiences before it even unfolds; it is a typical plot of against-all-odds and British grit, reflecting similar themes as that of The Full Monty and Calendar Girls, but Kinky Boots has something that these other shows don’t: the music by Cyndi Lauper really stands out to me as being part of the glamour of this show, and could be one of the reasons I love it so much.

Joel Harper-Jackson is a quirky and awkward Charlie, who gives an enjoyable performance. I wouldn’t say his singing is his strength, but his acting more than makes up for it. He is endearing at times, always passionate about his ideas and engaging in more ways than one. I particularly enjoyed his role in the finale of the show (no spoilers!) His renditions of ‘Step One’ and ‘Soul Of A Man’ are good but didn’t blow me away.

I found Paula Lane’s performance of ‘The History of Wrong Guys’ to be a bit pitchy, but as this eccentric and goofy character, it sort of worked. I still would have preferred it had she been able to belt the notes as they were inevitably written, but similar to Harper-Jackson, her acting carries her through the show.

However, the show is undoubtedly stolen by Kayi Ushe in the role of fabulous, quick-witted and personality-filled drag queen Lola. His comedic timing is second-to-none and his stage presence meant I couldn’t take my eyes off him for a second, let alone his fantastic dance and singing skils. His true acting ability shines when he introduces himself to both Charlie and the audience as Simon; the man behind the costumes and makeup. His duet of ‘Not My Father’s Son’ with Harper-Jackson was simply beautiful and heart-breaking in equal measure.

You cannot review this show without also mentioning Lola’s gorgeous Angels, who were played by Connor Collins, John J. Jempsey, Damon Gould, Joshua Levell, Toyan Thomas-Browne and Jason Winter. Their dancing was phenomenal, and the way they strut in sync around the stage in 6-inch boots was impressive to say the least. The choreography and direction from Jerry Mitchell therefore certainly has to be praised, with the “conveyer belt” dance section during Everybody Say Yeah was particularly memorable.

Kayi Ushe and the Cast of Kinky Boots UK Tour

Kinky Boots is a show that the world needs right now. It brings up important topical issues such as gender, sexuality and masculinity without losing its fun and upbeat nature. You’ll be singing the songs for days, but also won’t forget the importance of the show. Some of the key messages in the show are being who you want to be, whether that relates to sexuality or not, and the idea that you can change the world when you change your mind, and this is something I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

The cast of Kinky Boots UK Tour

This is a show that will make you laugh out loud, shed a tear, and have your toe tapping throughout, and mixed with some glitz, glamour and drag queens, what more could you want? It’s an upbeat, feel-good show that you won’t forget!

Kinky Boots plays at Wales Millennium Centre until 3 August before heading to Dublin, Southampton, Norwich and more on its UK tour.

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Sophie Garrod on InstagramSophie Garrod on RssSophie Garrod on Twitter
Sophie Garrod
Sophie Garrod has loved the theatre since a very young age and always loved to write. Whilst studying journalism, media and cultural studies at Cardiff University, she set up her One Woman West End Show website. She also now works at a theatre, so has insights into how theatres operate and how shows are produced. She writes reviews, as well as opinion pieces that are light-hearted and those that tackle more serious issues such as disability and race in theatre.
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Sophie Garrod on InstagramSophie Garrod on RssSophie Garrod on Twitter
Sophie Garrod
Sophie Garrod has loved the theatre since a very young age and always loved to write. Whilst studying journalism, media and cultural studies at Cardiff University, she set up her One Woman West End Show website. She also now works at a theatre, so has insights into how theatres operate and how shows are produced. She writes reviews, as well as opinion pieces that are light-hearted and those that tackle more serious issues such as disability and race in theatre.

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