Review: Kinky Boots is filled with colour and heart – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne (Performances until January 15th)

11 years ago, Kinky Boots burst onto the big screen starring Hollywood A-listers Chiwetel Ejiofor (Love Actually, 12 Years A Slave) as Lola, and our very own Joel Edgerton (Felony, Animal Kingdom) as Charlie. Inspired by a true story, this heartwarming family film was nominated for various awards and rightfully so, caught the attention of one of music’s biggest icons, Cyndi Lauper. Well, the rest is history making its Broadway debut in 2013.

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First, let’s clarify one thing. Who is a drag queen? Well, according to Google Dictionary a drag queen is a man who ostentatiously dresses up in women’s clothes. Right, got it. Thanks to reality TV shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, talent shows and of course the gay clubbing scene, drag queens are very much a part of the society in which we live in today. They ooze every bit of sass, sexiness and confidence most men and women search for in their own lives, re-instilling that little bit of faith that may have been lost. Well, all is not lost, especially when song and dance come together in such a way that will have you tearing up one minute and belly laughing the next. The emotional roller coaster this show takes you on exceeds every expectation you may have had, and leaves you wanting more at the sound of the final chord.

The hype surrounding Kinky Boots opening in Melbourne has had the whole country in a flutter. But, if ever there was a time to pull out those sexy stiletto boots you’ve been saving for a rainy day, then this is the time to whip them out and wear them with confidence. Just a heads up though, the six Angels in the show will make you feel completely incompetent as they strut, turn and flip their way around the stage. But don’t let this intimidate you; let it inspire you.

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Cast in the role of Lola is Callum Francis who in fact was the original Lola on the West End (Editors Note: Callum was the original understudy to Lola). There are no words to describe how perfect this human being represents the strength of a woman and the resilience of a man. He truly embodies every sparkle of a child who grows up longing to unleash his true being and allows it to blossom into adulthood. Callum is a triple threat who wears his heart on his sleeve, much like the character of Lola. You cannot fault him in any way. It is a true honour to have him on our Australian stage, and to be honest, if he wants to stay, we’ll gladly keep him. What a wealth of knowledge and spirit he brings to our industry.

To beautifully compliment the sincerity of Lola is Toby Francis cast in the role as Charlie. Interestingly, these two share the same surname which brings goosebumps to the body. How fitting for a show about brotherhood, where these two are not at all related but develop a relationship that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy. Toby is someone to look out for in this industry; his natural air and ease make him the perfect gentleman, and his rockstar vocals are buttery and smooth. Playing his quirky love interest is Sophie Wright as Lauren. Talk about comedic timing on point. It’s so refreshing to see some new faces in the lead roles and Miss Wright is certainly one that will have you in stitches.

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With a wonderful film script brought to life by Harvey Fierstein and original music by Ms Lauper, this show has every bit of colour and heart you want. Everything from lighting design, costumes, direction and choreography has a purpose, with a strong cast to ensure its execution. Time after time (pun intended), we hear about the fear within people holding them back from being their authentic self. Let this show be an awakening for everyone who feels lost, unheard, or mistreated. Let this be a show where beauty shines from the inside out, where the values of friendship and family have no gender, race or sexual orientation. Let this show empower you to stand up for what you believe in, and let this be a show to give you the confidence to live another day. This sensational production is not to be missed.

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Kinky Boots is playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne until January 15th 2017. For tickets and more info, head here.

The reviewer attended the show on Friday 21st October.

Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

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