Sensational, sassy fast-moving Kinky Boots deserves standing ovation - it's on tour now - dates, venues and ticket info

Kinky Boots is not just another behind the factory walls musical Harvey Fierstein’s book is much more than that, writes Liz Coggins

Thursday, 11th April 2019, 08:36 am
Updated Thursday, 11th April 2019, 09:04 am
Kinky Boots

It’s around 30 years since Fierstein’s stage adaptation of La Cage Aux Follies celebrated the coming out of drag in mainstream musicals.

Kinky Boots takes this further and looks at how sexual diversity can help the economy sending out the message that you can be who you want to be.

Set in Northampton it tells the story of Charlie Price, who inherits an ailing shoe factory. To stop the factory closing he searches for a niche market and after a chance meeting with diva Lola finds one – making thigh-length red boots for drag queens.

But Kinky Boots is not just a musical about men-in-frocks. It tackles the prejudices that Lola as the designer encounters from the factory staff and how they are overcome.

Cyndi Lauper’s score pairs admirably with Fierstein's script and Jerry Mitchell’s outstanding choreography and direction. Lauper’s music goes from upbeat and pulsating to touching especially in the duet Not My Father’s Son as Charlie and Lola discover they have both been victims of paternal expectations.

Although the show begins in a mundane way it literally explodes into a sensational, sassy fast moving production when Lola (Kayi Ushi) and his six drag artists appear.

Ushi drives the show and is totally remarkable in his characterization, brassy, brash and delivering barbed one liners whilst handling poignant moments magnificently. Powerful in the vocals his Hold Me In Your Heart is a real show stopper and its a shock to the system when you discover he’s singing it in a Clacton Care home and not in a famous venue.

As Charlie, Joel Harper-Jackson is a complete contrast to Lola, totally straight, sympathetic and a little wet behind the ears.

Ex-Corrie star Paula Lane is a rather dizzy factory worker with a crush on Charlie whilst Helen Ternent, his fiancée is spirited and really comes over as a lady who knows what she wants.

But the stars of the night were the Angels – six high kicking young drag artists with amazing figures who do splits, cartwheels, even dance on the conveyor belt in the factory.

With a live orchestra under the direction of Patrick Hurley and an ensemble that barely pause for breath doubling and trebling roles Kinky Boots has a great feel good factor and deserved its standing ovation.

Kinky Boots is at:

Leeds Grand Theatre until Saturday April 20Tickets: 0844 848 2700 or www.leedsgrandtheatre.com

Sunderland Empire from Tuesday June 25 to Saturday July 6Tickets: on line here

Bradford Alhambra from Tuesday October 15 to Saturday October 26Tickets: 01274 432000 and on line here

Hull New Theatre from Tuesday November 12 to Saturday November 23Tickets: 01482 300 306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk