27 October 2016

Review: Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots
Michael Cassel in association with Cameron Mackintosh
22 October 2016
Her Majesty's Theatre
kinkybootsthemusical.com.au

Kinky Boots, Australia. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Kinky Boots had me at “The most beautiful thing in the world”: a song about shoes. A song about shoes written by 1980’s pop icon Cyndi Lauper. The show’s won awards, including the 2013 Best Musical Tony, and the Australian production has opened in Melbourne – as if we needed another excuse to wear long red boots.

I am one of those people. I love shoes. Wear-all-day flat or sit-all-night toe-bleeding high, a shoe can tell the world everything they need to know about you. I’d like the strappy, pink, square-heel pair worn by a Kinky Angel (designed by Greg Barnes), please. I’d wear them to death.

Based on a 2005 film that’s based on a 1999 TV documentary, the 2013 musical is about Charlie, who reluctantly inherits his father’s shoe factory (with 600 pairs of unsold brogues in stock), and Lola, a drag queen, who teaches Charlie and his staff about sexed-up boots, the blaah of burgundy, and being a man.

Callum Francis is Lola. He’s magnificent. He understudied the role in the first London production and is more glorious, sexy and wonderful than any of the boots. He lets Lola’s true fabulousness come from the hurt she hides with her sequins, and never lets her be seen as mere sass and frock.

The cast and ensemble – hooray for some age and body diversity on stage – are all equally as fab and will shine more so as the show settles and everyone brings a bit more of themselves to round out their characters.

With its glitter-pop songs, Kinky Boots wears its huge heart on its sleeve and – even if the story doesn’t hide any surprises and could dig deeper into issues of identity and acceptance – it’s impossible to not get caught up in the joy, and the destiny of owning thigh-high, front-laced, three-leather, metal-stiletto boots.

This was on AussieTheatre.com.


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