Kinky Boots the Musical (The Shows Must Go On!) | Review By Lewis C. Baird

Rarely in our generation is a musical made that is socially relevant, and also so phenomenally entertaining. ‘Kinky Boots’ has toured the UK, played London’s West End and Broadway. This weekend The Shows Must Go On! are streaming the recorded West End version of the show. But does this recording do well to capture the hit musical?
 
‘Kinky Boots’ is based on the hit film, which follows, Charlie Price, who has been burdened with his late father’s failing shoe factory. To try and raise profits, he looks for a niche in the market. After bumping into Lola, a drag queen, he decides that his niche should be heels to fit men. However, how will the staff of Price and son react to this MASSIVE change in product?  

Matt Henry is simply astonishing as the high heeled strutting Lola. Matt established this character in the UK, and with this reprise of the role he continues to make Lola one of the most iconic diva’s in the UK. Matt’s vocals suit this character so well, having already seen this show on its UK tour the recording had a lot to live up to, but with Matt as Lola the anthems featured were sang effortlessly. A most notable mention is his stunning performance of one of the slower pieces within this musical, the ballad ‘Hold Me in Your Heart’, you could forgive him for the late Whitney Houston with his powerful rendition of this song, while showcasing a costume that looks straight from ‘The Bodyguard’. Matt’s comic timing, presence and overall portrayal of Lola easily makes her an audience favourite. You’re hooked on his portrayal once he’s finished slaying ‘Land of Lola’. 
 
Killian Donnelly gives a superb performance as Charlie, he gives us real depth with the struggles in which Charlie faces. Not only that but his humour is spot on. The audience really resonate with him due to how real a portrayal Killian gives us. With Killian’s vocals, there’s not much to be said as he is a UK theatre legend for a reason. His voice is stunning. ‘Step One’ is performed with such energy and seamlessly. And ‘Soul of a Man’ is perhaps the best performance in this musical, simply for the emotion, passion, energy and vocal power featured. Killian Donnelly is unreal as Charlie Prince in this production. 
 
Natalie McQueen is utterly hilarious as Lauren, she gives this character such energy, depth and a really crazily quirky nature, which the audience lap up. ‘The History of Wrong Guys’ is simply side splitting, there’s so much energy in this performance. Natalie laps up all the moments where comedy can be used and it really lifts the character, in this musical with so many big personalities, Natalie’s portrayal of Lauren is one which the audience simply love. 

 
Sean Needham supplies us a villain for much of this production in the shape of Don. He does well in making Don so accessible to the audience, as much as for a portion of the story we don’t really connect with this character, we still understand his intentions. This is through Seans great portrayal of a character who can sometimes be played in a way which fails to connect with audience members. But the audience love Don by the end of this performance. 

Cordelia Farnworth played the character of Nicola. It was a great portrayal of a woman very desperate to live her life, and it was clear she had no care for the working life her partner, Charlie, desired. 

The ensemble of this show supplied personality, energy and different dynamics to make this performance great. The talented actors featured are Abbey Addams, Jak Allen-Anderson, Jed Berry, Jonathan Carlton Louis Clarke-Clare, Momar Diagne, Daniel Downing, Jemal Feliz, Jordan Fox, Rosie Glossop, Robert Grose, David Haydn, Keith Higham, Ben Jennings, Robert Jones, Graham Kent, Ben Larcombe, Rio Lewis, Suzie McAdam, Temba Mliswa, Jude Muir, Emma Odell, Christopher Parkinson, Hannah Price, Kayleb Rene-Gray, Jon Reynolds, Tom Scanlon, Anna Stolli, Charlie Underhill, Smson Wakayu, Fred Wilcox and Olivia Winterflood.  

The book for this musical is written by the much-respected musical theatre aficionado, Harvey Fierstein. The story its self sounds like an unlikely musical hit, however, this story features so many themes and issues that relate to many people living within today’s world. Acceptance and friendship are explored within this musical, in ways which had not been done previously. That’s what makes this story really stand out. Harvey’s excellent script is complimented by the uplifting, powerhouse of music and lyrics from Cyndi Lauper. She supplies a varied dynamic of music which acts as a fantastic soundtrack to this story.  

Jerry Mitchell’s direction and choreography takes something which could be transposed into a beige and unoriginal production, but instead, it’s a piece of theatre which showcases a confident director who knows how to make decisions which not only elevate this production but theatre itself. His vision works brilliantly with David Rockwell’s brilliantly complex, multipurpose, factory set. This set is given more depth with Kenneth Posner’s perfect lighting design, and John Shiver’s realistic sound design. Gregg Barnes on costume supplies STUNNING costume for Lola and her angels, plus gives us the realistic costume with the factory workers and Charlie. This production team work seamlessly together to make a theatre event.  

Brett Sullivan directs this film version of the stage show, he does an amazing job of transposing this award-winning musical into a film. ‘Kinky Boots’ is actually captured in a more engaging and fulfilling way than Disney +’s ‘Hamilton’. Brett gives the audience the best seat in the house and captures the action beautifully. 

‘Kinky Boots’ is an amazing show which not only entertains but conveys an uplifting message to never let anyone stop you from being you. If you are looking for a hell of a lot of joy this weekend then… Ladies! Gentlemen! And those who are yet to make up their minds! You know what musical you want to watch! Check out the musical below. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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