theatre, west end theatre, musical, LGBT, LGBTQ, kinky boots

Kinky Boots: West End Must See!

When I had a resent trip to London, I had several meetings including reviewing School of Rock, which I did a few weeks ago. One of my meetings finished early leaving me with a whole free night in London to do exactly as I pleased. A night off, which is very rare! Excitedly I headed to the ticket booths in the city centre to see what tickets I could get last minute. Wicked, which okay I really have seen too many times now. Then I had a choice between Dream Girls and Kinky Boots both at about the same price (£27). Dream Girls was closer to my hotel, but I remembered talking about Kinky Boots with a friend no so long ago after seeing a photo of Dr Brian may online in huge boots after seeing it. So I took a punt, not really any idea of what it was about other than my friend saying think of it as Rocky Horror but with shoes.

I got to the Adelphi a little early, to get a drink and wait. Exploring the merch stall, when I got upstairs I discovered that the back balcony I had booked for was closed tonight. Because of that I had been issued a huge upgrade, to lower circle in exactly the same position. A ticket the guide told me was one of the most expensive in the house, over £80's worth. Needless to say I was extremely impressed. The bar tender was getting a few nasty comments about his sexuality from some punters which I did not agree with. Chatting with him about the show, ordering my drinks. He was very apologetic that his machine hadn't cooled down enough to serve cocktails yet, so could I please wait until the interval and he would have it waiting for me. Fair enough. I can not state highly enough how fantastic, polite and helpful the staff where. Telling you about all the offers, the cast exchanges, all the possible information you could need. I had never visited this theatre before, but I must say it is the best I have been to in London for service, and comfort. I am not just saying that for the pixie dust upgrade either, although I did have a shockingly amazing view. See below:

The story starts with two father's teaching their son's how to be a man. One the owner of Price and son's shoes, teaching his son Charlie how to run a shoe factory, with an impressive dance number singing the praises of shoes. The other a manual working man, angry at his son mucking around in women's heels. When he is teaching himself how to walk and dance in them. Which with (if I have my time lines worked out right, apologises if not) it being around the 70's when they are child, and he is a black young man must have been a shocking idea for him to want to wear heels.

Charlie grows up, and we see him with his girlfriend leaving Price and Son to move to London, in some big shot job that she wants. Wanting these crazily priced shoes for their wedding. Whereas Charlie just seems to want to get away from the shoe factory, not sure where he wants to be. As he never seems to have any excitement for the London life at all. Not long after they reach there, he gets a call that his father has died and he needs to go back to Northampton to run the business. With no clue what he is really doing, Charlie tries his best against the odds. As he discovers their main client has dropped how many shoes they take dramatically, but his father hadn't slowed production as it would drop his workers hours. Leaving piles of shoes in storage with nothing to do with them, no one to sell them to.

Thinking of an old family friend Charlie heads back to London to try and cut a deal to keep the factory going a little longer. On the way back he sees what he thinks is a young black woman being attacked, and defends her. Only to discover it is a drag queen, he gets knocked out by her boot by mistake as she swings it towards her attacker. When he wakes in the club, he is shocked looking at Lola in all her glory. Pulling away when she tries to check the lump on his head. She isn't impressed, telling him not the flatter himself and complaining about her broken heel. Which Charlie takes promising to fix. Watching the show from backstage not quite sure what to make of it all. Even after she has painfully carefully explained the difference between drag queens and transvestites.

Back in Northampton Charlie discovers that the whole production run has now been cancelled and he has no way to keep the factory running. He starts to give the staff their two week notice, not very successfully. With his 'What can I do?' attitude. As staff seem determined to tell him exactly what he could do! Thinking about their idea of finding a specialist market to cater for he looks at Lola's shoe, thinking about their conversation about a woman's shoe not being able to support a fully grown man's weight. He approaches Lola about his ideas to make a heel just for men. Trying to bring her in as a designer. He tells her to stay in London and he will bring her a sample down, which of course she ignores heading up to his factory. Shocking the entire workforce as not many of that kind tend to be in Northampton. Working along side of them, gaining a lot of hate while doing so as they work towards creating a line of boots for transvestites for Milan fashion week.

Of course it isn't all plain sailing but I won't ruin that for you guys in the slightest. I love the fact that this show is full of humour, amazing dance moves and large doses of sarcasm. Too many shows and programmes now are overly PC. Here we have Lola saying all the things that PC would find offensive but she's saying it about herself and her people because if anyone is gonna say it she will! I love her thread of ladies and gentlemen and those who are yet to make up their minds running through the whole show. The dance numbers are huge, fantastic and inventive! How on earth they worked out the number where they dance along the conveyer belts I will never know! It looks fantastic! The cast giving their everything at every single second of the show, so much energy! As well as very catchy songs, unlike School of Rock. As well as promoting equality in a highly positive light, which is something dearly needed in these times where hate seems to grow in strength every single day.

Special mention has to go out to Paul Ayres as Charlie, who was a stunning actor. Keeping it all together, great chemistry with our Lola, Matt Henry. Showing that two very different people, from very different back grounds can actually be exactly the same. Matt completely made the show for me, I loved how he played Lola all the way through. Making me want to see it again as soon as it had finished. You walk out with such a positive vibe about who you are, exactly how you are. This will certainly be on my see again list for when I am in London again!

11/10 stars. Go book tickets today!!

Sarah Beth James

Owner/Editor

@wickedwitchgal