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Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre | Review

Kinky Boots Review | Essential Twenty

I remember when Kinky Boots made its Broadway debut back in 2013. Mainly because I was obsessed with American Idiot (I’ve still not seen it, but they’re touring later in the year. Definitely going to have to go) prior to this and one of the cast members was cast as Charlie Price. Oh Stark Sands, 16 year old Sophie loved you so much. But despite having seen Killian Donnely in The Commitments in 2014 and loving him in it, I just didn’t get the same excitement for him to play the role when it transferred to the West End. It was probably due to the ticket price, I’m going to be honest. Well in February I noticed a sale on the Adelphi Theatre website and managed to get second row stalls tickets for £20 (which are currently bookable for other dates at closer to £70 – ouch). Now I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to see Kinky Boots this time, and gave myself a midweek two show day in my Easter break.

Kinky Boots tells the tale of a young man inheriting a failing shoe factory, and having to leave his dreams, and fiancee, in London to pick up the pieces. It seems that all hope is lost, until Charlie meets Lola. Lola is a drag queen (that’s two shows about drag queens within a month), and by meeting Lola, Charlie discovers a gap in the market. Stilettos are not made to hold a 6 foot, 12 stone man. So Charlie throws all that he’s got into designing the perfect boots for drag queens.

Kinky Boots Review | Essential Twenty

Kinky Boots Review | Essential Twenty

Due to the nature of the music I prefer, I’ve only really listened to half of the cast recording. I knew all of Charlie’s songs, but not many of Lola’s, meaning I half-knew the show and half…well, didn’t at all. The choreography was brilliant, the costume and lighting was superb and the set was fantastic. But I couldn’t help but compare it to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which I did actually prefer.

Vocally it wasn’t as strong, which is fair enough for a such a dance-heavy show. The production value sometimes made you forget about the vocal performances, but it doesn’t take away from the fact I wasn’t blown away by them. The accents were horrific, and sound nothing like people from Northampton (I live just over the border from Northamptonshire and they do not sound full brummy) – Jamie definitely did a better job at pulling a South Yorkshire accent out of the bag. And since this show has been going for quite a few years now, despite cast changes, it definitely wasn’t as fresh as Jamie. The cast were more experienced when it comes to professional performances, as well as being the role a little longer, and probably doesn’t give them as much excitement when they play the role 8 times a week.

One of the pitfalls of sitting so close to the stage (other that having to strain your neck a little bit to see the action, and I missed some of the shoes; a key aspect in a show called Kinky Boots), is seeing the actors’ faces. Now don’t get me wrong, you get to see them really into characters, but you also get to see the bored faces on stage. I know that you can’t always have a ball when you’re doing your job, but when you’re on stage, looking stern doesn’t entice me. It doesn’t make me want to get up and dance. It just makes me not want to look at you on stage.

Kinky Boots Review | Essential Twenty

Kinky Boots Review | Essential Twenty

I enjoyed Kinky Boots, and I can see why people want to return again and again, but it just wasn’t my favourite production. I was happy to pay £20 to see it, but I wouldn’t want to pay much more, or necessarily see it again. If you enjoy it, that’s great, but for me it’s a pass. Although you will catch me humming Take What You Got on a regular basis, which I’ve done for the past 5 years anyway.

Kinky Boots is currently booking at the Adelphi Theatre until September 2018.

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