Theatre Review: KINKY BOOTS – Opera House, Manchester

The cast of KINKY BOOTS. Photo: Helen Maybanks

The cast of KINKY BOOTS. Photo: Helen Maybanks

A feel-good celebration of individuality, KINKY BOOTS spreads it’s timeless message of acceptance to Manchester this November

With Cyndi Lauper’s score giving us some catchy, poppy tunes to accompany Harvey Fierstein’s book, KINKY BOOTS is a lighthearted comedy with plenty of touching, heartfelt moments to go around. Based on the 2005 film of the same name, KINKY BOOTS is loosely based on the true story of the W.J. Brooks Ltd footwear company. Charlie Price, struggling to keep his father’s shoemaking business afloat, finds inspiration in Lola, a vivacious drag queen who helps Charlie to expand into a rather niche market.

Callum Francis arguably carries the show as Lola. His performance is enigmatic and extremely fun to watch, as he captivates with some of the more upbeat numbers of the show. Francis also has some of the more emotional moments too. NOT MY FATHER’S SON gives a true insight into his character and HOLD ME IN YOUR HEART is truly show-stopping. Every moment that Lola is on stage, it’s hard to look away.

Callum Francis as Lola and the Angels in KINKY BOOTS

Callum Francis as Lola and the Angels in KINKY BOOTS. Photo: Helen Maybanks

Joel Harper-Jackson started off a little shaky, but really warmed up, and by the time SOUL OF A MAN rolled around, he blew everyone away. Paula Lane is the leading lady of the show and held her own in a male-dominated piece such as this. HISTORY OF WRONG GUYS was funny and memorable although her character’s relationship with Charlie felt underdeveloped and forced at times.

The ensemble is fabulous, with big, ensemble pieces such as SEX IS IN THE HEEL and WHAT A WOMAN WANTS giving the show it’s own unique flavour. The Angels stole the show, helped by Darren Carnall’s stellar choreography, which really stands out in EVERYBODY SAY YEAH. Gregg Barnes’ costume design also gives the show every bit of glitz and glamour it needs, which is really shown off in the drag catwalk finale, which is glittering with British pizazz.

Paula Lane (Lauren) and Joel Harper-Jackson (Charlie) in KINKY BOOTS. Photo: Helen Maybanks

Paula Lane (Lauren) and Joel Harper-Jackson (Charlie) in KINKY BOOTS. Photo: Helen Maybanks

KINKY BOOTS is a ridiculously fun show, filled with jokes, amazing songs and performances, and a poignant underlying message. Though we have come so far in these past few years, it seems that some people still need reminding that it’s not hard to accept people for who they are. KINKY BOOTS gives this reminder with an explosion of colour.

(4 / 5)

KINKY BOOTS runs at the Opera House, Manchester until 1 December 2018. 

Lucy is a nineteen-year-old aspiring actress from Glossop. She is currently studying Music Theatre at the University Of Central Lancashire and hopes to move onto a career in performance. She also has interests in reading, writing and music.