Kinky Boots | Theatre Review

Tony and Olivier award-winning musical Kinky Boots, based on a true story, continues to pull in massive audiences night after night. I went along as part of the Drama, Theatre and Performance cohort, to watch the Adelphi Theatre’s flamboyant, sequinned and outrageous offering, with my expectations high. I had no idea what a treat lay in store.

It’s just like being back at work!

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For £3.90 we took the 72 bus to Hammersmith Station, then the Piccadilly line eastbound to Leicester Square, which took about one hour. On the return journey, I took the number 9 bus from opposite the theatre to Hammersmith Station, then the 72 back to campus, for just £1.50, which took a similar amount of time, but with the added bonus of a nice sightseeing route. Located on the Strand, the Grade II listed theatre is situated approximately 5 minutes from Leicester Square, opposite a nice Topshop that’s useful if you arrive early. Whilst prices start at £19.50, my ticket was free (a perk of my course), but my seat, Dress Circle L3, is usually priced at £49.50, and gave me a great view of the stage, slightly biased towards the left.

Visually, the production is spectacular, and continues to deliver and impress throughout the run, with clever swaps and ingenious usage of the conveyors proving highlights. Starting with a drab palette, the introduction of the drag queens provides flashes of spectacular colour, particularly red, which are a treat to the eye. Lighting is used perfectly to enhance the comedy and dramatic moments, and works smoothly with the adaptable set, combining to create a seamless blend of impressive flourishes.

Audience applause for the opening number was rightly rapturous, and followed suit for the rest of the evening in deserved response to Cyndi Lauper’s catchy melodies and lyrics. Verity Rushworth’s History of Wrong Guys was performed exquisitely, had all of us in fits of laughter, and was mentioned afterwards as many people’s favourite song. Not one song was below par, and the brilliant soundtrack was stuck in heads afterwards, leaving us all vowing to return home and listen to it on repeat. To top off the performance, the closing number was spectacular, and got everyone on their feet – a rare full-audience standing ovation.

Providing just the right balance of side-splitting comedy and heartfelt touching moments, Kinky Boots even inspired numerous spontaneous bursts of applause mid-scenes, testament to the level of audience engagement. In particular, the drag queens provided jaw-dropping routines that fascinated and thrilled the audience in equal measure. Acrobatics and dances in enormous heels, attitude and charisma that illuminated the stage, and all-round stand-out performances ensured that the drag queens captured the hearts of the audience. Lola, originally played in the West End by Roehampton’s very own Matt Henry MBE, was the focus of the action, and was no exception to the impressive drag queen performances, delivering outstanding songs and dances.

Go and see Kinky Boots. Despite being hardened to and critical of all performances, my group of drama students all adored the show and could find no faults or flaws. With a powerful cast, important themes and the feel-good factor that we all crave, it’s a guaranteed winner, and is not to be missed. If you only go to one musical this year, make it this one.

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