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Review: Falling Head Over Heels For Kinky Boots

When I was invited along to a preview of Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre, the Broadway smash hit newly arrived in London’s West End, I expected to have fun. What I didn’t expect was to fall completely head over heels for this fantastic show, which has everything you could possibly want from a good musical: great music, an uplifting story, a brilliant cast and - most importantly - fabulous footwear.

Based on real events, Kinky Boots is the story of Charlie Price from Northampton, who unexpectedly inherits his family’s struggling shoe factory, despite having just made his escape to London with his fiancée. Finding the business in all kinds of financial trouble, Charlie turns to an unexpected new friend - drag queen Lola (a.k.a. Simon) - for inspiration, and together the pair set out to create a new range of stiletto boots specifically for men. It’s a heartwarming and hilarious journey that takes us all the way from the Midlands to Milan, discovering along the way the importance of finding your passion in life and learning to accept people just as they are.

Killian Donnelly, unsurprisingly, gives a fantastic performance as the downtrodden Charlie, who grows in confidence and stature throughout the show. (He also looks inexplicably sexy in pants and knee-high red leather boots, but that’s another story.) Amy Lennox is hilarious as Lauren; she may be tiny, but her no-nonsense approach forces Charlie to stand up for himself and take action. But arguably the star of the show is Matt Henry, who most people will know from his appearance in season 2 of BBC’s The Voice. I can honestly think of nobody who could have played the role of Lola more perfectly; with a confident, light-hearted exterior that masks an intense vulnerability, Henry’s performance is absolutely spot-on. The extended applause after his emotional rendition of "Hold Me In Your Heart" said it all, I think.

Though there are plenty of solos, which give the stars a chance to shine vocally, Cyndi Lauper’s fantastic music also includes several up-tempo group numbers, showcasing Jerry Mitchell’s choreography and the dance skills of Lola’s sensational Angels (who all look way better in a bikini and heels than I do, by the way - not that I’m bitter or anything). I really hope a London soundtrack is in the making, because I’d buy it like a shot.

 
It’s literally impossible to walk out of Kinky Boots without a smile on your face; the closing number is ridiculously catchy and sums up the contagious, feel-good spirit of the whole show. I’m already planning my next visit, and haven’t stopped recommending it to people all week. This is one of the best new musicals to hit London for a while, so don’t miss your chance to get kinky!



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