Search

Kinky Boots, Theatre Royal review: A stereotype-breaking, toe-crushing romp

PUBLISHED: 11:32 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:26 26 September 2019

Kayi Ushe as Lola with the Angels in Kinky Boots Credit: Helen Maybanks

Kayi Ushe as Lola with the Angels in Kinky Boots Credit: Helen Maybanks

Archant

The UK tour of smash-hit musical Kinky Boots stomped into Norwich this week and exploded onto the stage in a kaleidoscope of colour and plenty of sparkle.

The cast of Kinky Boots Credit: Helen MaybanksThe cast of Kinky Boots Credit: Helen Maybanks

Since it arrived at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End in 2015, it has become a huge hit back home and won three Olivier Awards, including best new musical.

The show, based on a true story, follows Charlie Price (Joel Harper-Jackson) who inherits Price and Son shoe factory in Northampton when his father dies and struggles to live up to expectations, with the once prosperous industry in decline in Britain due to competition from abroad with cheaper labour and materials.

By chance, he then stumbles across drag queen Lola (Kayi Ushe) who is in need of stilettos that can support a man's weight and, spotting a niche in the market, the pair form an unlikely friendship which takes them all the way to the catwalks in Milan.

The show is a stereotype-breaking, gender-bending and often toe-crushing romp and Kayi Ushe as Lola was an absolute star.

Joel Harper-Jackson as Charlie and Kayi Ushe as Lola/Simon in Kinky Boots Credit: Helen MaybanksJoel Harper-Jackson as Charlie and Kayi Ushe as Lola/Simon in Kinky Boots Credit: Helen Maybanks

From the minute he stepped on stage as Lola, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand with self-assurance and a heart that was even bigger than his heels.

It was especially poignant when contrasted with Kayi playing Simon, behind the bold make-up and bodycon dresses, as he becomes scared of his own shadow and in tear-jerking duet 'Not My Father's Son', you find out that him and Charlie are more similar than they first realised.

READ MORE: Paula Lane on being killed off in Corrie to starring role in Kinky Boots

The catchy score is all written by the legendary Cyndi Lauper and you can really hear her in comedy song History of The Wrong Guys, sung by factory worker Lauren (Paula Lane) who finds herself falling for Charlie.

Paula Lane as Lauren in Kinky Boots Credit: Helen MaybanksPaula Lane as Lauren in Kinky Boots Credit: Helen Maybanks

Paula, best known for playing feisty Kylie Platt in Coronation Street, provided brilliant comic relief and I'm sure plenty of women in the audience could see a bit of themselves in her.

At the start, I felt Charlie was a little one dimensional as he dreams of leaving factory life behind, but as he meets Lola you see his depth as he finds his feet and Harper-Jackson showed the character's vulnerable side and has an excellent voice.

In a time where the ideas of gender are becoming more fluid, this play could not come at a more perfect time and Lola teaching macho factory worker Don to accept people for who they are is a beautiful moment.

With a winning combination of a brilliant story that celebrates diversity and Cyndi Lauper's lyrics, you can't help but Wanna Have Fun.

The cast of Kinky Boots Credit: Helen MaybanksThe cast of Kinky Boots Credit: Helen Maybanks

Kinky Boots runs at Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday, September 28.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists