Bristol Hippodrome

Kinky Boots

February 2019

Kinky Boots cast. Photo: Helen Maybanks

Posturing in 'kinky' boots

Lola (Kayi Ushe) is a lovely, sassy lady dressed in sequins – trouble is ‘she’ is a ‘he’ who stands 6ft tall in her stocking feet.

Charlie Price (Joel Harper-Jackson) is an ineffectual wimp with a pushy fiancé Lauren (Paula Lane) intent to stepping up the social ladder by wearing the pants in their relationship. Trouble is she wants to wear the shoes too - Christian Louboutin not brown brogues.

Get it? That’s the gist of Kinky Boots, well my version anyway.

Kinky Boots is based on a true(ish) story made into a BBC documentary which became a film, which became a hit Broadway musical, which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week.

A down-at-the-heel family shoe firm is losing money because if produces out-dated footwear.

A chance encounter leads Charlie to learn drag queens can’t get through a nightclub act without some wardrobe malfunction involving their stiletto heels. Finding a niche produce could save the struggling British shoe factory by switching production from men's dress shoes to custom footwear for drag queens.

Lola and Charlie (not to be confused with CBeebies series) are a pair of polar opposites who have more in common than they know – cue song Not My Father’s Son.

The stage version is fabulous – talented cast, realistic set, energetic dance, spot lighting - all first-class theatre.

When you flick through the programme is appears the show has no big names – a couple of actors who have appeared in soaps, film shorts on an obscure tv channel or the odd advert for 118118, no Oscar nominees here.

And yet they were beyond marvellous, they gelled as a company and bought one of my favourite films to life – talented, professional and one of my best-ever shows to date (that is in all-time top 10).

It is an all-dancing, all-singing, gritty story about glitzy drag artists and ground down production line workers - a world where fashion faux paux collides with foot fettish fans.

The show also has marvellous moments of humour:

  • Take One: Charlie’s prototype boot is burgundy leather with a sensible Cuban heel. Lola wants a thigh high, shiny red patent boot with dagger shaped heel. One look at Charlie’s first offering and she retorts ‘do you want me to look like a Ukrainian folk dancer?' The motto being sex is in the heel.

  • Take Two: Blonde love interest Nicola (Helen Ternent) doesn't mince her words when she shouts out ‘that wanker's got a way with words' when Charlie gives a speech about taking over the factory from his late father. Great cameo role from chubby shop floor worker Don (Demitri Lampra).  

  • Take Three: Lola’s dad who disapproves of his cross-dressing ends up in a wheelchair in a nursing home. Lola says, ‘fags got him in the end’.

Best bits – the voices which gave me goosebumps, acrobatic moves on factory conveyor belt, steel girder roofs, grande finale Milan catwalk – not giving anything away here so sod it go and see it for yourself it is really, really, good.

There were instances when I thought of the films An Officer And A Gentleman or Made In Dagenham but I bet Priscilla Queen Of The Desert would love a pair of these boots obviously not made for walking or pussies.  

On Tuesday night it got a deservedly standing ovations.

Kinky Boots runs till Saturday, March 9.

For more information and tickets click HERE.

Carol Deacon

PREVIEW: Coronation Street character Paula Lane is to star in award winning Kinky Boots when it comes to the Bristol Hippodrome next year.

The show which has won every major best musical award sees Kayi Ushe take the role of cross dresser Lola.

Paula Lane played Kylie Platt in the top tv soap opera.

On stage with Paula and Kayi is Joel Harper-Jackson as Charlie Price.

Also joining the Kinky Boots cast will be Demitri Lampra (Don), Adam Price (George) Helen Ternent (Nicola) who will be accompanied by Charlie Allen, Nicola Avino, Lizzie Bea, Joshua St Clair, Connor Collins, Daniel Conway, Shaun Dalton, John Dempsey, Niki Evans, Mary Fox, Scarlet Gabriel, Damon Gould, George Grayson, Portia Harry, Joshua Lovell, Jacob McIntosh, Chileshe Mondelle, Alfie Parker, Fred Smiley, Toyan Thomas-Browne, Andy Watkins and Jason Winter.

The show will play Bristol for two weeks from Monday, February 25, 2019.

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan.

Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son.

With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

With direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray), Kinky Boots is the winner of every major best musical award including three Olivier Awards, three WhatsOnStage Awards as well as six Broadway Tony Awards.

Composer and lyricist, Cyndi Lauper said: “It has been a wonderful adventure and a privilege for me, to play a part in creating Kinky Boots.

"Everyone can relate to this universal story, and I am overwhelmed that people in the UK have embraced it with open arms.

"I am thrilled that this fabulous show will be touring the country!”

It is written by Harvey Fierstein and directed and choreographed Jerry Mitchell.

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