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REVIEW - KINKY BOOTS | STORYHOUSE CHESTER | 08/05/2024


kinky boots artwork
all about theatre 4 star review

Kinky Boots the musical is based on the 2005 Miramax motion picture of the same name, written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth and mostly inspired by true events.  This uplifting musical features a Tony and Grammy-winning score by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein. The musical debuted on Broadway in 2013 and opened on the West End in 2015, it then toured the UK in 2018 which is when I saw the show for the first time and loved it, so when I heard that the Storyhouse in Chester was doing a revival of the musical and completely restaging it as well as using actor-musicians I knew I needed to go and see it.


kinky boots at the storyhouse in chester production photo

The musical tells the story of Charlie Price who inherits a failing shoe factory from his late father. Charlie wants to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business and the jobs of the loyal staff who Charlie has known since childhood. Charlie is at a loss as to how to save the factory, that is until he meets drag Queen Lola and comes up with the idea of producing a line of high-heeled boots suitable for drag queens. Charlie hires Lola as a shoe designer and as the pair work together, they find that they have more in common than they realized.

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kinky boots at the storyhouse in chester production shot

The stage was in a thrust position for this show making the performance seem intimate as you are much closer to the action. The staging and set design were quite simple but effective, the back wall of the set was made to look like the brick wall of the factory with a "Price and son" sign above a blue doorway. The wall had two windows one on either side of the sign and in the windows, you could see some of the musicians and their instruments such as the drummer and keyboardist. Other instruments were scattered around the set for the talented actor-musicians to pick up when required. In the centre of the stage was a square raised platform where most of the action would take place often with the ensemble of actor-musicians stood around it playing their instruments. The platform is cleverly turned into a boxing ring in one scene and also the stage at the club where Lola performs, this is done with the help of Charly Dunford's fantastic lighting design.


kinky boots at the storyhouse in chester production shot

Kinky Boots is a musical that has impressed me with its captivating storyline and outstanding performances. However, one of the aspects that make this musical truly stand out for me is the music composed by Cyndi Lauper. Her music is exceptionally diverse and inspiring, blending various genres and musical styles to create a unique and unforgettable sound. From pop to rock and even some Broadway elements, her music is a mix of upbeat tunes such as 'The History of Wrong Guys' and heartfelt ballads such as 'Not My Father’s Son' these complement the show's message of acceptance and individuality. Musical director Sarah De Tune has done a sensational job, showcasing many of the songs with different orchestrations than the original production.


kinky boots at the storyhouse in chester production shot

The cast of this show was fantastic, the ensemble gave a joyous and enthusiastic performance while playing a range of characters and seamlessly swapping instruments. Danny Becker's portrayal of Charlie was strong and nuanced, making the character effortlessly likeable. Duane-Lamonte O'Garro delivered an outstanding performance, showing his character's strength and confidence as his drag persona Lola, but also revealing the vulnerability he feels when that persona is lifted. One of the highlights of the show was O'Garro's rendition of 'Not My Father's Son,' which exuded emotion and allowed the audience to empathize with Lola. Leah Vassell was great in the role of Lauren, she was likable with excellent comic timing and had a great voice. Her performance of 'The History of Wrong Guys' was particularly enjoyable.


kinky boots at the storyhouse in chester production shot

The show's finale was a special immersive experience, taking place not in the auditorium but in the theatre's main atrium. It was an ambitious move, and initially, I had reservations about its potential to disrupt the show's flow. My concerns about feeling overwhelmed in a large crowd due to social anxiety were also allayed by the staff's excellent management of the audience, ensuring the atrium never felt too crowded. The finale turned out to be fantastic, providing a unique and enjoyable conclusion to the show. I had an amazing time watching this production of Kinky Boots. The show was full of heart and conveyed a message of inclusivity, self-acceptance, and perseverance. The story was beautifully crafted and well-executed, with amazing performances by the cast.  It felt fresh, exciting, and fun, and left me feeling uplifted and inspired. Overall, it was a wonderful show that I highly recommend.


Kinky Boots will be running at the Storyhouse in Chester until the 18th May 2024.

You can click on the button below to purchase tickets for the shows.





Photo Credit - Mark McNulty


*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review







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