Kinky Boots

REVIEW | Kinky Boots | West End

The broadway smash hit musical Kinky Boots has been on the West End for a year now, after a highly successful and Olivier-winning run, the new cast bring fresh flavour to the extravagant production.

Charlie has grown up in his father’s shoe factory in Northampton and he is expected to take over the family business Price and Son, however his long-term girlfriend Nicola has other plans. When Charlie’s father passes away, he takes on the family business but struggles to keep it afloat. After stumbling into drag queen Lola, he discovers the niche market of making high-heeled boots for drag queens.

Taking over the reigns from star of the West End Killian Donolly, David Hunter brings a natural likability to the role. His charisma is effortless as he plays the character with a selfless eagerness to please everyone in his life. It is charming to watch his character progression as he grows from an awkward young guy to an ambitious and self-assured businessman. Vocally he is excellent, Hunter’s performance of Soul Of A Man is expressively beautiful and had my body covered head-to-toe in goosebumps.

When Nicola gives up on Charlie to pursue a career in London, his love interest becomes Lauren, a young woman who has worked in the Price and Son factory for years. Elena Skye makes her professional debut as the outspoken and boisterous Lauren. The highlight being her moment of realisation when she discovers she is actually in love with Charlie during her sensational number History Of Wrong Guys. The combination of her strong British accent, exaggerative expressions and powerhouse vocals, provide a performance that has the audience howling with laughter.

Photo: Helen Maybanks

Photo: Helen Maybanks

The ultimate star of the show is Olivier award-winning Matt Henry for his role as the fiercely dazzling Lola. Henry’s stage presence is encapsulating and his characterisation is confidently chic. Behind the feisty moves and stellar vocals, Henry gives a heart aching performance in his touching solo Not My Fathers Son. His performance is genuine and entirely honest, mastering the light and shade of the role exceptionally. Not to mention his sentimental chemistry with David Hunter’s Charlie after he struts to the rescue to help save the factory.

Henry’s feisty moves are reflected in the seamlessly choreographed numbers that the Angels take on in their 6-inch heels, dripping in sequins and sparkle. The flamboyant number The Sex Is In The Heel has the stunning drag queens oozing femininity with their strikingly saucy dance moves – it is high-class drag.

There is an underlying message in the show of defying prejudice and accepting yourself and others. This comes across through Harvey Fierstein’s book, which intertwines pacy dialogue, touching scenes and tremendous amounts of humour.

Kinky Boots is bursting with sass and glamour. With infectious choreography and rich musical numbers, it is an exuberant yet utterly poignant production.

*****5 Stars

Playing at the Adelphi Theatre on London’s West End, tickets can be found here.

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