Kinky Boots: A musical and comedic tale of acceptance

Kinky Boots National Touring Company

Kinky Boots National Touring Company. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Kinky Boots kicked off Tuesday night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and we thoroughly enjoyed it!

The opening shows a young Simon and young Charlie, both disappointments to their fathers. Simon is a high-heel wearing boy, and Charlie, a child longing for more than just the shoe shop life his dad lives. Flash forward to today and we see that Kinky Boots is the story of a young man, Charlie Price, played by Curt Hansen, whose father suddenly dies leaving his son with a failing shoe factory, Price & Sons. Charlie must leave his pretentious fiancée, Nicola, whom he just moved to London with, and return to manage his fathers’ shop. Struggling to stay afloat, he is hoping for a way to save the company.

One evening Charlie meets a drag-queen, Lola, and everything changes. Exposed to a new world of cabaret dancing, cross-dressing and drag shows with Lola and her “dancing angels”, the two become unlikely allies and work together to save the shoe factory and learn about accepting others for who they truly are.

The stand out of the show was Lola played by J. Harrison Ghee, who encompasses everything Lola should be – strong, sexy, and feisty. “Not my Father’s Son” is a heart-felt tribute to the strained relationship with his dad, and Ghee steals every scene. As Simon, the awkward man who disappointed his father by wearing high heels, becomes Lola the drag queen turned shoe designer, Ghee is the highlight of every scene in both his vocals and comedic performance.

Besides Ghee, Lauren played by Ellen Marlow is the star of the show. Lauren is Charlie’s employee at Price & Sons, but is the only one who supports his plan to start something new, even when that something new is questionable, stopping stock of business shoes and designing high heel boots to support the weight of men in drag. She supports Charlie and it is soon clear she has feeling for him. Her performance of “History of Wrong Guys” is comedic and entertaining and she quickly becomes a fan favourite for Charlie, especially compared to his fiancée Nicola.

As the story progresses, the high heeled “Kinky Boots” are being designed for a showcase in Milan and we meet a series of interesting characters who work at Price & Sons.

A memorable scene from the show is a boxing match “In this Corner” that is vividly enacted by Don the shoe factory worker, played by Aaron Walpole, and Lola with slow motion punches and a cheering crowd.

Another favourite scene was the treadmill dancing scene on the shoe factory floor. The set design and choreography in this scene as well as many of them were incredibly intricate and stunning to watch. The athleticism of some of the dancers was apparent and the crowd loved watching. Lola’s angels and the ensemble who play shoe factory employees are all gems in the show with one liners and scene stealing moments. The whole cast is phenomenal and had the audience applauding and laughing non-stop.

 

The show offers enjoyable musical routines, comedic relief, quirky characters and a storyline that draws you in. Cyndi Lauper’s musical influence is apparent throughout and the performances and all are incredible.

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to expect of a musical about ‘Kinky Boots” but this is a journey worth taking!

J. Harrison Ghee National Tour of Kinky Boots

J. Harrison Ghee in the National Tour of Kinky Boots. Photo: Matthew Murphy

About Amanda Long

Amanda is an educator, event planner, and mother to a fourteen-year-old, currently finishing her master's degree in Educational Leadership. In her spare time, she enjoys road trips, camping, a variety of music, board games and spending time with friends.