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Kinky Boots

“A joyful homecoming”
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It seems apt to launch the UK national tour of Kinky Boots in Northampton, the town in which it is set.

As the show’s original West End and Broadway runs wind down (closing on January 12 and April 17 respectively), it’s thrilling to see this inclusive, spirited musical reaching far beyond those metropolitan centres to spread its warm-hearted message of acceptance further afield.

Harvey Fierstein’s 1983 stage adaptation of La Cage Aux Folles marked a coming out of sorts for the representation of drag in mainstream musicals. Thirty years later Fierstein returns there with this show, scored by Cyndi Lauper, proving just how far we’ve come. Whereas La Cage was about different notions of family, Kinky Boots dares to look at the economic reasons to celebrate sexual diversity.

Here drag doesn’t only represent personal identity, but a route to survival for an ailing Northampton shoe company. It’s glorious to see the mature, matter-of-fact embrace of this in the guise of a family show. Seeing it in the town where the British shoe industry was based gives it an added poignancy.

It feels completely at home here, even if the show itself was forged on Broadway. Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell’s meticulous recreation of his spectacular original production fires on all cylinders without cutting any corners, and his touring cast – assembled by casting director Jill Green – is majestically led by Callum Francis as Lola. Brassy and fabulous yet also sweet and vulnerable, he’s a towering presence both in and out of blazing red high-heeled boots.

His performance is complemented by an understated turn from Joel Harper-Jackson as Charlie, who inherits the factory from his father and is sweetly determined to do the right thing; he also has a powerful rock voice, putting his heart into his big solo number Soul of a Man.

Kinky Boots review at London’s Adelphi Theatre – ‘fun and frequently fabulous’


Related to this Review

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Production Details
Production nameKinky Boots
VenueRoyal and Derngate
LocationNorthampton
StartsSeptember 19, 2018
EndsOctober 6, 2018, then toouring
Running time2hrs 30mins
ComposerCyndi Lauper
Book writerHarvey Fierstein
LyricistCyndi Lauper
DirectorJerry Mitchell
Musical directorPatrick Hurley
Set designerDavid Rockwell
Lighting designerKenneth Posner
Sound designerJohn Shivers
CastAdam Price, Callum Francis, Demitri Lampra, Helen Ternent, Joel Harper-Jackson, Paula Lane
ProducerDaryl Roth, Et Al, Hal Luftig, James L Nederlander, Playful Productions, Terry Allen Kramer
VerdictA joyful homecoming for the UK tour of the Broadway musical
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Mark Shenton

Mark Shenton

Mark Shenton

Mark Shenton

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