REVIEW: Kinky Boots

Strutting into its third year at the Adelphi Theatre, Kinky Boots is still playing to full houses, spreading its message of tolerance and understanding. Based on a true story, the musical is the third telling of a Northampton shoemaker (after a BBC documentary and a film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola). The story is given a reworking by Harvey Fierstein with Cyndi Lauper providing a catchy and energetic soundtrack. 

The show follows the story of a failing shoe factory and the owner’s struggle to keep it going and maintain his family’s heritage. A chance meeting with a drag act leads to the development of a Kinky Boots range in the hope of turning the fortunes of the factory around. What the show is about is being who you are, not what others want you to be. Not conforming to a stereotype or being what your parents want you to be, but finding your own way and accepting others for finding theirs. The show’s antagonist, Don, has a fixed notion of what a man is. The archaic concept of masculine and feminine is examined and challenged reflecting societies own preconceptions. This issue was addressed last year in Grayson Perry’s documentary Grayson Perry: All Man. The ways in which we see ourselves and each other are challenged with acceptance and tolerance promoted. The lyric in the show ‘you can change the world when you change your mind’ stands out as being a call to arms, encouraging people to shed prejudices. Don soon finds out that what makes a man is not being able to punch someone in a fight but being able to treat someone with respect, regardless of their sexuality, gender or life choices.

The show delivers the message through two hours of fabulous fun, with a high-kicking, cross-dressing chorus forming Lola’s backing troupe. Everyone in the company delivers an outstanding performance making this show ‘the most beautiful thing in the world.’

Kinky Boots tickets are available now.


Harrison Fuller

Theatre manager, writer, maker.


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