This week the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots landed at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Based on the movie of the same name (and inspired by true events), the story follows the struggles of Charlie Price, a man struggling to carry on the legacy of his father’s family shoe business. With his company finding it difficult to compete with the rising trend in disposable footwear, Charlie fears that all hopes of Price & Son are lost. However, fate takes an unexpected turn when he has a chance encounter with Lola, a drag performer on the hunt for sturdy set of heels. 

The show begins in the Price & Son factory, an impressive multi-level set that has the eye exploring the stage for new finds. There’s nothing missed in the prop details and the audience is immediately transported to an old English brick building masquerading as a shoe factory. The cast play well with the set during the entire show; the most memorable number being ‘Everybody Say Yeah‘, in which the troupe dance over travelators. 

kinkyboots cast

Callum Francis steals the show as Lola, the witty and sarcastic drag queen determined not to let anyone bring her down. Francis delivers each line with impeccable timing and flawless sass. The audience is automatically spellbound by his charisma. Get ready to tap into your tear ducts when Lola drops her larger than life persona during a heartfelt duo with Charlie. The duet is flawlessly executed, communicating the charming realisation that perhaps the pair aren’t that different after all. 

Alongside Francis, the show features a popular West End cast, including Joel Harper-Jackson as the determined Charlie. Also joining the crew is Paula Laneas Lauren, best known for her role as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street. 

Energetic and hilarious

Paula Lane is a keystone in the performance, carrying superb vocals and the ability to make every woman in the room relate to her goofy responses to her character’s feelings for her new crush. Lane’s energy and enthusiasm ensured I was transfixed every time she hit the stage.  

Taking you from factory floor to the catwalks of Milan, the music is a pleasurable mix of ballads and exciting toe tappers; a soundtrack that won Cyndi Lauper a Tony Award for Best Score in her first outing as a Broadway songwriter. Accompanying the tunes are an array of fun and fruity costumes, leaving just enough to the imagination! The message is clear – the best way to fit in, is to stand out!

At times, it almost feels like you are watching two different shows. The jump from intense emotional scenes to invigorating high-energy music numbers are extremely noticeable. However, this is part of the show’s appeal. The production has enough to keep the traditional theatre goer entertained, whilst also attracting a new audience by focusing on a subject that is more topical then ever right now. Move over Ru Paul, this is the hottest drag show in town!

Kinky Boots is on at The Edinburgh Playhouse from 10th December 2018 – 5th January 2019. Tickets are priced from £19.50 per person. Get your tickets here

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