I first saw Kinky Boots over two years ago. Now, as its closing date in the West End is announced, I paid another visit with my auntie and cousin, and wished I had seen it more often over the last couple of years.
Based on the film, with music by Cyndi Lauper, it is the story of Charlie Price, who is faced with rescuing his family’s failing Northampton shoe factory, and his partnership with drag queen Lola, who inspires him to make glamorous shoes for the drag queen market.
Having watched the film only recently, I was able to appreciate how well the musical condenses the events of the first twenty minutes or so into one song. Indeed, the show as a whole is very well paced, with not a dull moment.
Simon-Anthony Rhoden is superb as Lola, conveying her passion, charisma, liveliness and also her vulnerability. The musical shines most when Lola is on stage. I wasn’t always convinced by Oliver Tompsett’s acting as Charlie Price, but he has a brilliant singing voice, making the most of his solo numbers. Natalie McQueen is also fabulous as Lauren, bringing the house down with her humorous solo track.
The serious side to this musical is that it is about loyalty, friendship and accepting people for who they are, as well as questioning traditional notions of masculinity. What makes it so fantastic, however, is the superb score and the excellent cast. The West End will be poorer when it goes.