Recent Posts
Follow Us
  • Twitter Basic Black
  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Google+ Basic Black

Review - Kinky Boots: a joyful and refreshing spectacle


Right: The Land of Lola. Below right: Toby Francis and Callum Francis. Bottom: The finale. Photos: Matthew Murphy

Kinky Boots

Book by Harvey Fierstein

Music and lyrics by Cindy Lauper

Directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell

Produced by Michael Cassell

Lyric Theatre

Queensland Performing Arts Centre

South Bank

Brisbane.

Season: August 22-October 22. Running time Two hours 15 minutes including interval. Bookings: www.qpac.com.au or phone 136 246

Without doubt this is the best new musical in years. It has everything: a great story line, wonderful characters, toe-tapping music that moves the plot along and is such a joyful and refreshing spectacle to watch. I loved every damn minute of the two hours of music, dance, and drama.

On top of all that we have Lola, the happy-in-his own skin transvestite entertainer. Who could not love Lola! Callum Francis was simply brilliant as he portrayed this peace-loving, kinky boot aficionado and what a voice! He interpreted all the songs skilfully and adjusted the feeling nicely for the ballads and the belters and his dancing was also phenomenal,

In fact a highlight of many highlights was the dancing of the whole cast and in particular Lola’s “Angels” the troupe of cross-dressers who formed the cabaret act. This all male but decidedly feminine sextet (Blake Appelqvist, James Delisco Beeks, Euan Doidge, Ryan Gonzalez, Mark Stefanoff and Mitchell Woodcock) would find a roll in any chorus line. What energy, skill, and rhythm they all had. They were helped of course by marvellous choreography from, Jerry Mitchell. The set too was great and the female costuming stunning, particularly Lola in the rather lovely Hold Me in Your Heart number.

But behind all this talent was a feel-good, happy tale of forgiveness and acceptance that was heartfelt and very gently portrayed. There was no pulpit preaching, just simple acts by some very real characters to pass on a well-received message.

It’s the sort of show that leaves you smiling as you leave the theatre. The audience was taken on a ride through humdrum days on the factory floor, through romance, sadness, drama, driving ambition, fun and laughter in a story that resonated because if its origins in truth and top class acting from a well-written script.

Toby Francis was Charlie Price, the reluctant inheritor of a failing shoe making company in Northampton, UK.

As the show opens we see his father and himself and a young boy, already being infused with the love of shoes – The Most Beautiful Thing in the World as the song said. And Lola too, a little boy who is in love with red high heeled shoes, much to his father’s disgust.

Dad makes the youngster learn to box to “man him up”.

Years pass and Charlie, newly engaged to real estate guru Nicola (Teagan Wouters) flits off for the bright lights of London, but news of his father’s death, brings him home to battle the fall in income of the factory and the livelihoods of the faithful staff.

He meets up with Lola, now wearing whatever shoes and frocks he wants as a successful cabaret star.

It is Lola’s designs for high heeled boots for men that revitalises the factory. Lola’s appearance in the factory turns head and breeds homophobia, particularly in long serving worker Dan. He is a lovely character played very nicely by Joe Kosky.

The boxing match between the two – the heavyweight and the lightweight - is a joy to watch and the message subtly sold.

In between also this is Sophie Wright as Lauren, hopelessly in love with the unresponsive Charlie. Again this is beautifully drawn and acted character. But then the entire ensemble was just about perfect in well drawn roles.

And the songs – verve and bounce and exuberance with Land of Lola, Everybody say Yeah, What a Woman Wants, Sex is in the Heels and Just Be and then the poignant rendering of Not My Father’s Son and Soul of a Man.

There was a standing ovation and for once I was up there spontaneously. It was that sort of uplifting, fabulous production.

© 2023 by Glorify. Proudly created with Wix.com