THEATRE REVIEW: Kinky Boots at Sheffield’s Lyceum

By Michele Vincent | 12/06/2019

THEATRE REVIEW: Kinky Boots at Sheffield’s Lyceum

GREAT performances all round, catchy tunes, superb costumes and an interesting set — what’s not to like?

The award-winning musical Kinky Boots, with a book by Harvey Fierstein and featuring music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, was inspired by true events.

The story — which has also been made into a film on which the musical is based — revolves around a gentlemen’s shoe factory in footwear capital

Northampton and the factory’s new owner, Charlie Price, who moves back from London after his father dies suddenly.

Understudy Joshua St Clair stepped very ably into the role last night (Tuesday), putting heart and soul — or should that be sole? — into the part.

The business is in trouble but help arrives in the unlikely form of drag queen Lola, superbly played by Kayi Ushe.

After a chance encounter between Charlie and Lola in London, the shoe boss realises that there is a gap in the market for glamorous footwear with stilettos strong enough to bear a man’s weight.

The workforce takes some persuading and Northampton might not be ready for the inimitable Lola — and Charlie’s ambitious girlfriend, Nicola, is less than impressed about him going back to his roots — but the work goes ahead, with the aim of showcasing the transvestite footwear in fashion capital Milan.

There is superb singing and dancing throughout and the set is intriguing, featuring eye-catching stained glass.

The songs are very catchy, including the likes of Sex is in the Heel, and all the cast have strong voices including Paula Lane in the role of Lauren, the factory worker who finds herself falling for her boss.

But while this is predominantly a funny, feel good show, there are serious themes of tolerance and acceptance also going on, showcased particularly movingly during the Not My Father’s Son duet by Lola and Charlie.

Factory worker Don, played to great effect by Demitri Lampra, is an old-fashioned, macho type and he and Lola set each other a challenge, which includes a boxing match and the exhortation to Don to “accept someone for who they are”.

The cause, both of tolerance and boot production, is helped along by loyal foreman George, sympathetically played by Adam Price, and the show ends with the trip to Milan.

The costumes are spectacular and the finale is hugely energetic and enjoyable.

With a joyful story, love interest — will Lauren get her man? — and bigger themes to boot amidst the fun and laughter, this is a show with something for everyone.

Playing at the Sheffield Lyceum until Saturday, June 22.