Kinky Boots the Musical - Review

January 07, 2016


It was the must-see show on Broadway and in September it transferred to the Adelphi theatre in London’s West End. We were lucky enough to grab a ticket to see it over the Christmas break and here are our thoughts.

How on earth did a simple story about the glamorous world of shoemaking in Northampton manage to find a home in the New York theatre scene? Well, the story goes all the way back to the 2005 film of the same name, which was based on a 1999 BBC2 documentary. Seen by the eventual producers of Kinky Boots the Musical at the Sundance Film Festival, it was hoped that a hit could be conjured from nowhere! When it won six Tony awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score, it was clear that it was a mega hit (even beating out Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical) and London just had to see it. With music and lyrics by Cyndia Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, there was more than enough to ensure that our expectations were set pretty high.

Opening on a struggling shoe business, the musical begin slowly but it’s clear there’s something special here, particularly with the dance choreography which includes marvellous use of conveyor belts (in fact, the brilliant ending to the first half makes use of these in a way that presumably has a health and safety stage manager fretting each night!) The main roles are taken by West End stalwart Killian Donnelly as the struggling shoemaker Charlie and Matt Henry as the drag queen Lola who inspires him to stop making traditional footwear and start focusing on glamorous boots that ooze sex appeal and are aimed completely at the cabaret market. Both performers are superb and really help to bring a sense of realism to a story that – although based on truth – could come across as a little farfetched.

Although we love a good story, a musical is rightfully most often judged on the quality of its music and this is an area which doesn’t disappoint with a number of fab musical numbers including the wonderfully hilarious ‘The History of Wrong Guys’ and more than a few tracks that you feel you could singalong too instantly including ‘Take What You Got’ and ‘Sex Is in the Heel’. With outstanding dancing and yes, some stunning costumes, it’s clear to see why this musical was a hit on Broadway and is continuing to be the same hit in the West End.

If you’re currently struggling to get a ticket or are concerned by the fairly high prices to see a show in London then do not fret for Kinky Boots the Musical is sure to be around for a very long time indeed. It’s got all the glitz and glam that one could want from a night out and the cast and crew to boot. Just you wait until you see the final set piece of the evening. There were cheers, whooping and clapping from our audience and we suspect it’s much the same every night. Kinky Boots is a dazzling, toe-tapping joy.

To purchase tickets for Kinky Boots the Musical or for more information, please click here.

 

 

 





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By Henry Fosdike