REVIEW: Kinky Boots the Musical | Manchester

What do you get when you mix Cyndi Lauper with the 2005 comedy drama Kinky Boots? A sassy, sexy and super feel good Musical.

A nicely rounded 10 years after the films release, Kinky Boots the Musical opened on the West End and now only 3 years later it is strutting its 6-inch heels across the UK.

I watched the film only a few months ago and found it beautiful, heart warming and poignant. The perfect comedy drama, all based on a true story. It followed an unexpected friendship that came with its unique challenges from steel heels to a steel-minded society.

Charlie is trying to save his father’s nearly out of business shoe factory when he has a chance encounter with a woman in distress. This turns out to be Lola, the hottest drag queen in London town. Charlie soon finds himself in a world full of glitz, glammer and glamazons who are all missing a crucial accessory; kinky boots worthy of a 12 stone man. Here begins their powerful partnership.

Kinky Boots

Shantay, you stay or sashay away?

This Musical adaptation was sick’ning and it can certainly stay. (By the way, if there was a time to make the most out of my Ru Paul references it is now. You will either love them or loathe them) I was pleased to see they stayed true to the original story and added extra wow factor with the performances, choreography and soundtrack.

Here are my three stand outs of the show:

Kinky Boots

Number 1: Lola

Callum Francis is, as Ru Paul might say, “fit for the gods”. He captured the absolute sass and strength of Lola, rocking the highest of heels and owning the tightest of sequin dresses. Yet he brought a true insecurity and fragility to Simon, the boy with decades wide wounds. Callum was well and truly the heart and soul of the show. And of course not forgetting Lola’s angels who slayed the stage and injected a partay into their numbers.

Kink Boots

Number 2: Charlie

Joel Harper Jackson played a likeable Charlie and brought the realness to this Musical. He is struggling to keep his business afloat and prove himself whilst also struggling to accept that people, who seem so different at first, might not be so after all. Joel threw all his passion into his pitch perfect performance and made “Soul of a Man” my favourite song of the night.

Kinky Boots

Number 3: Lauren

The comedy star of the night goes to Paula Lane as Lauren, Charlie’s long-term Price and Sons employee and love interest. She played a loopy and over the top northerner successfully bringing tears to my eyes in her solo, “The History of Wrong Guys”. She’s extremely different to the film character but the perfect addition to this Musical adaptation.

The missing scene

There was one particular shot from the film that stayed with me; a young Lola dancing on a promenade in glittery heels. It set the scene early on and introduced this young boy doing something he loved out of sight of his father. The imagery stayed with me and I would have loved to have seen it either projected or performed.

The icon behind the sound

Singer, songwriter, actress and LGBT activist, Cyndi Lauper, was surely the perfect pop star to embrace and embody Kinky Boots? Her music and lyrics are quirky, vibrant and poptastic. They are by no means smash hits but there are some real dazzling numbers, in particular Raise You Up, Not My Father’s Son and What a Woman Wants.

Ladies, gentlemen and those who are yet to make up their minds, Kinky Boots will make your day, week and year. Feel good, flirty and fierce; a musical with a message. And to end with a Ru Paul favourite, “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?”

Kinky Boots is in Manchester until Saturday 1st December and tours all around the UK. http://www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk/uk-tour/index.php

Have you seen the Musical or film? Please let me know in the comments below.

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