BLOG : Kinky Boots Review: No Hesitation For A Standing Ovation
Tuesday 23 February 2016
In a sense, the audience reviewed Kinky Boots for me, committing without hesitation to a standing ovation as soon as the final song ended. From musical nerds like me, to people who were evidently at Kinky Boots only because their family member wanted to see it – we were all completely hooked, and I don't think that anybody in the audience could withstand falling head-over-heels in love with this show. And that is one of the most outstanding qualities of Kinky Boots: it is a show that everybody, musical nerd or not, will LOVE.
Before I get carried away in praising Kinky Boots, let me briefly explain what it is about. Set against the backdrop of prejudice, the show tells the true story of Lola (Matt Henry), who is tired of wearing heels that can't bear the weight of a man, and Charlie (Killian Donnelly), who needs to find a niche market for his shoe factory... Together, and with a few bumps along the way, they make Lola's Kinky Boots.
The music in Kinky Boots is superb. Feel-good, energetic and sincere, Cyndi Lauper's score creates the perfect atmosphere for the show – and her lyrics are fabulous (“I'm like Jesus, I'm like Mary, but these Mary's legs are hairy!”) If you go to see Kinky Boots (which you really ought to), you will come out the theatre humming the songs, and feeling fantastic.
Another great thing about Kinky Boots is that the pace of the show never drops. You don't find yourself waiting for your favourite song, or counting the minutes until your favourite scene; on the contrary, at the end of each act, you will likely wonder where the time went.
In terms of casting, Matt Henry (playing Lola) overshadowed everybody else with his absolute brilliance. He owned the stage and the audience from start to finish, and effortlessly nailed every one of his songs. Occasionally somebody crops up on the West End stage who performs above and beyond even the high standards of the West End itself – and Matt Henry is one of those people. I think he managed to out-feminine all of the women in the audience whilst simultaneously emasculating all of the men...
The rest of the cast were without fault. It takes a whole cast to create the energy levels of this show, and every single cast member are clearly putting absolutely everything they have into each performance. The result is spectacular. In particular, Killian Donnelly's performance of Charlie Price was perfectly handled: it was not over-played, or exaggerated, but believable and genuine. Other highlights were Lola's Angels, Amy Lennox's performance of Lauren, Amy Ross' Nicola and Jamie Baughan's Don – all of whom contributed to the energy and life that is unique to Kinky Boots. It is absolutely not to be missed.
You can catch Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre until September 2016 – though, I am already hoping that the run is again extended, because this is the sort of show that you could watch over and over again and still not have had enough. Don't miss it.
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