These Boots were made for dancing – Kinky Boots Review

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Kinky Boots. Well, what can you say about heels so high they touch the sky and leave me slightly jealous. The production of the West End smash hit came to Stoke last night and as adventurous as the musical was, so were the heels. And just as stunning.

The tale of Charlie Price trying to save his family’s shoe factory is one that has been told all over the world, quite literally. With sold out tours in America, Australia, The Philippines and South Korea, to name a few – Kinky Boots has stomped its way across the globe. As part of the UK tour, following the closure of the West End show, which was performed over 1,400 times, the travelling production is now in Stoke for a further nine shows and eight nights. And in my opinion, you will be miss out if you don’t see this sequin-covered, high-heeled wearing, red leathered Glamazon of a show.

Based on a true story, the town of Northampton is put on stage at the Price and Sons Shoe Factory with Charlie Price torn between following the family’s footsteps or his sweet-heart’s dainty heels to London. After the sudden death of his father, Charlie is forced to return to a failing business and must find a way to save it. Up steps Lola, six-inches taller than her normal Simon with a solution to save the day and the aptly named Kinky Boots are born.

The Regent Theatre was full of songs and sequins as the ensemble perfectly sashayed to the music, written by Cyndi Lauper with jaunts and nods to her musical career. Pop-y hits like Land of Lola and Sex in the Heel were incredible to watch but unfortunately they were a problem to hear. Straining to listen to the lyrics of group numbers and even on occasion the solo, the up-tempo background music drowned out what should have been a joke for example. It was obvious that the audience had missed the joke because we were all deathly silent as the pause grew longer. However, that is the only fault I could find within an exceptional performance.

Charlie (left), Lauren (centre) and Lola (right)

The chemistry between Charlie (Joel Harper-Jackson) and Lola (Kayi Ushe) was such that they worked in such smooth synchronicity I didn’t feel like the pair were acting anymore. They were living their characters and the story they were telling. The rest of the cast as well worked in such harmony that no heel was out of place and no stage change felt like one, which was surprising when at times there were four ‘conveyor belt’ treadmills being danced and twirled around centre stage. Laura (Paula Lane best known as Coronation Street’s Kylie Platt) was also a stand-out character. Hilariously funny and relatable to the point where you could picture yourself in her slightly ditty kitten heels.

Overall, the stand-out performance of the production has got to be the shoes. Goodness me what shoes. Designed for drag queens the stilettos would make anyone on a night out envious, if not a tad bit grateful they don’t have to wear them all night. But there’s no pain in looking good. Just ask Lola’s Angels. The costume design team deserve a standing ovation alone for the six finale outfits worn by the Angels. Typically British in their nature but stunning by design. A Beefeater, a cricket player and the Union Jack all got the rhinestone treatment and boy do they look drop dead gorgeous.

There’s only so much fun you can have trying on your mother’s heels but it’s not until you strut in a pair of your own six-inches do you truly earn your runway. And Kinky Boots has proven that tonight and will do for their stay at The Regent and anywhere else they travel in the remainder of their tour. The heart-warming story of acceptance and realisation is one that touches you but you can sit back and enjoy . If not just do it for the boots. They deserve to be worshipped.

Kinky Boots is at the Regent Theatre Stoke from 29 January to 9 February 2019. Tickets are available online.

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