REVIEW: Kinky Boots (Cinema Broadcast) ★★★★
January 21, 2020  //  By:   //  Reviews  //  Comments are off

If you missed, like I did, the West End production of Kinky Boots when it ran at the Adelphi Theatre from September 2015 to January 2019 (for over 1400 performances), there is a unique opportunity to see why this wonderful musical gathered so many award nominations. A live filmed production of the show is being broadcast to U.K. cinemas on 4th and 9th of February.

Based on a story in a 1999 BBC documentary “Trouble at the top” and the 2005 Golden Globe winning film, the story tells of how a failing shoe factory is saved by developing a new boot strong enough for a drag queen called Lola.

Harvey Fierstein was hired to write the book, Cyndi Lauper the music and lyrics and Jerry Mitchell to direct and choreograph the show. Together they have created a joyous, fun, entertaining musical with real heart and emotion at the centre of it.

The contrasting worlds of the Northampton shoe factory and Drag Queen cabaret are delightfully set out in the opening numbers of “The Most Beautiful Thing”, set in the factory and “Land of Lola” with Lola and seven wonderful leggy drag artistes in a London cabaret.

From this comes the idea of making a specialist boot, two and half feet of irresistible tubular sex,  summed up in the lively and fun song “Sex is in the Heel” as the two groups come together. However what makes this musical so enjoyable is the relationships between the central characters. Killian Donnelly plays the rather intense Charlie Price (the reluctant shoe maker) and West End Wilma Award Winner Matt Henry plays the outrageous drag queen Lola (or Simon from Clacton) and they have a delightful chemistry between them. It is very touching when they sing together about their fathers in “Not My Father’s Son” and then later in Act 2 in their solo numbers “The Soul of a Man” by Charlie and “Hold Me in Your Heart” by Lola, revealing more raw emotion.

There is excellent support from the other principals, especially Natalie McQueen, who makes the most of the comic opportunities as the factory worker Lauren who falls in love with Charlie.

The choreography by Jerry Mitchell is bold fun and hilarious and has a humanity beneath the glamour and high kicking showstoppers.

The whole stage show is slickly set by David Rockwell with an ancient glass walled factory framing the production and fast moving inserts to create locations in London and Milan.

Multi camera recording is edited together well to give close ups that a theatre audience might have missed of reactions, aside glances and over the shoulder shots from the stage in some of Lola’s big numbers. There are a few too many audience reactions inserts, to remind us that this is a recording of a live theatre show and they looked staged as the camera pans across the auditorium.

This is a dynamic feel-good musical, a cross between La Cage aux Folles and the Full Monty, with its lively pop score, outrageous characters and raw emotions from a creative team with pedigree and a lead cast of real class.

Kinky Boots is a message of accepting ourselves and our differences from others and is delivered in a family friendly way. It is well worth going to your local cinema to see these entertaining broadcasts which enable this great West End shows to be seen by a wider audience .

The Cinema release of Kinky Boots The Musical, will be screened in more than 600 cinemas across the UK and Ireland on 4 and 9 February 2020.

Reviewed by Nick Wayne

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