Review: Kinky Boots – The Theatre Royal Nottingham

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Ladies, gentlemen and those who have yet to make up their minds…

Whoever you are, I can guarantee you’ll have an amazing evening at Kinky Boots the Musical. Spreading it’s warm-hearted message of acceptance to the folk of Nottingham as it visits the Theatre Royal for a two-week run.

Scored by Cyndi Lauper, the show was originally forged on Broadway but has been bought back to the original setting of Northampton. Two worlds collide when working-class Charlie (Joel Harper-Jackson), inherits a shoe factory from his Father.  Taking over the struggling family business and determined to do the right thing, a chance encounter with glamorous drag Queen Lola (Kayi Ushe) seems the answer to his problem when a breaking heel inspires Charlie to create stiletto boots for men.

An unlikely friendship grows between the two, who as they begin to pick their way through each other’s pasts. Via many big musical numbers they learn they’re not so different after all.

The cast is brilliantly led by the very talented Kayi Ushe as Lola. Sassy and fabulous but with a warmth and a sweet vulnerability (and an impressive command of stilettos) she struggles for acceptance.

There is some visually-amazing choreography involving treadmill-adapted conveyor belt. And Lola and her Angels back-flip and shimmy their way through scenes showing that a  factory floor can be a catwalk for acceptance if you have the right attitude.

A well-deserved standing ovation follows a predictable finale but that doesn’t detract from the sheer brilliance of it. Charlie, out of his depth, and trying to strut the catwalk in the boots himself, ends up being supported by the whole cast (including those who were originally averse to everything Lola stood for) parading proudly around the stage in the iconic boots.

It’s Loud and Proud. Relevant, heart-warming and full of glitz and glamour, Kinky Boots is definitely up there with my favourite musicals.

By Tanya Louise

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Disclaimer: Press Tickets but my views are my own.

 

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