KINKY BOOTS: THE MUSICAL






THREE AND A HALF STARS A failing shoe factory is saved when its new owner befriends a drag queen and learns about heels for men.

Matt Henry, Killian Donnelly

MUSICAL UK THEATRE #KINKYBOOTS

KINKY BOOTS: THE MUSICAL, based on KINKY BOOTS the movie, is the mostly-true story of a young man who inherited a failing shoe factory in northern England, a business that was saved by his unlikely friendship with a drag-queen. Starring Joel Edgerton and Chiwetel Ejofor, their film caught the attention of Cindy Lauper and Harvey Fierstein who wrote a musical version for Broadway.


It became a global hit, touring Australia in 2017. This production, filmed live from London’s West End last year, is sure to bring the high-spirited story of Charlie and Lola to audiences old and new, plus those keen to ‘go to the theatre’ but wary of crowded spaces. Aside from all that, as with any ‘live from’ production, it’s great to be up close and personal at a top shelf performance.


What’s more, KINKY BOOTS is a lark. Here is a big, bold, brash production which trowels on sparkle and glamour to push noble themes of honesty, acceptance and living your own life. In Charlie’s case, he wants to run the factory his way, making high-heeled boots for men. In Lola’s case, the drag entertainer who inspires Charlie, he wants to live free from the shadow of his domineering, unforgiving father. Cue songs such as Not My Father’s Son, Hold Me In Your Heart and clap-alongs like Raise You Up and the wonderfully sensuous Sex Is In The Heel.


What distinguishes KINKY BOOTS from other queer-themed crowd-pleasers like PRISCILLA or the upcoming EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE are Lauper’s songs and lyrics. There’s not a dud among them, and unlike so many musicals, the variety is astounding: torch songs, disco, soft rock, pub rock and synth pop all crafted with care and catchy, high-spirited purpose.


While Fierstein’s book serves up a some clumsy stereotypes and stage direction often leaves many cast members looking for something to do (factory workers mill around like learners in a dance class bumping into the tutors - it’s as awkward as the unwelcome and obtrusive crowd shots), the leads shine, propelling KINKY BOOTS into a class of its own. It’s brash, it’s fun, it’s touching, it’s meaningful, it’s the perfect antidote to 2020.


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