Love, laughter and some killer stilettos at ‘Kinky Boots’

Kinky Boots

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a night out at one of London’s West End theatres – all that glamour, entwined with so much history – but I must confess to a moment of trepidation whilst on the way to see ‘Kinky Boots’, at the Adelphi. The last West End musical I went to was a huge let-down, and I so didn’t want to be disappointed again.

I’m glad to say that the opposite was the case. From the very first moment, as the curtain rose to reveal Price & Son – Northampton’s finest shoe manufacturer – in all its glory, I felt certain we were in for a great evening. The set – an integral element of any musical is just right; Price & Son may be a factory, but it feels more like a family home (albeit one in possession of some rather snazzy stained glass windows). That is due in no small part to the accomplished and tight-knit cast, who interact seamlessly and look as though they’re having a ball. (The latter is more rare than you might think; I remember going to see ‘We Will Rock You’ and, whilst thoroughly enjoying it, thinking that certain of the cast members looked bored rigid).

True, some of the singing is a bit wonky (and the performance of one of the central characters, Charlie, less strong than you might expect), but that is more than compensated for by Cyndi Lauper’s glorious score and the performances of the other cast members – in particular, Olivier Award-winner Matt Henry, who imbues Lola with wit, and with warmth. And who can fail to be moved by a production whose central message is that, through learning to love yourself, you will find that others love you, too?

This is an indulgent, heart-warmer of a show. Yes, it touches upon some serious themes – but it does so with a smile upon its face and without being heavy-handed. It’s also downright entertaining: the sight of a succession of drag queens sashaying down a Milan catwalk is one that will long stay in the mind. What I wouldn’t give to look that good in a frock.

Above all, this show is a testament to the power of the human spirit, to love and to friendship. In a world that sometimes feels as though it’s growing darker by the day (as we left the theatre, news was trickling in of another suspected terrorist incident, this time in Brussels), it felt good to be reminded that, come what may, there are those bonds that will always unite us.

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