Review: Kinky Boots UK Tour

Updated: Jun 8, 2019

Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper turn the true story of a Northampton shoe factory into a roaring and hilarious musical extravaganza! Kinky Boots is a spectacular mix of sass and heart-warming comedy, with the added ingredient of leather and drag queens!


The story follows the life of Charlie Price (Joel Harper-Jackson) as he takes over the family’s failing shoe business, after the saddening death of his father. The show turns around when Charlie meets Lola (Kayi Ushe), a drag queen from Clapham, whose shoes can’t handle the high-kicking glamour of a show-girl. Price and Sons begins work on a range of women’s shoes for men – ready to display on the stage of Millan. With heart-breaking and love-making spliced between the business heavy storyline.


This touring rendition of the award winning show boasts an incredible cast and killer songs. With some of the best harmonies I’ve heard since my love for the theatre began, the voices in the choral songs could be likened to an extremely polished gospel choir [like honey to my ears!]. Joel Harper-Jackson, Paula Lane and Helen Ternent blew me away with some of their solo belters. You do have to forgive some of the longer songs in the production, as they seem to have an outro lasting for too long – but this should be expected from the well-loved 80’s pop star (it was the trend at the time).


It was plainly obvious the cast have been practicing this performance for laughs, and were looking to make the audience chuckle at every given phoneme. At the heart of this was Kayi Ushe, the expert timing and perfect mixture of voice and action meant the audience hung off his every microsecond. Kayi has us all hooked and twisted beautifully around his beckoning fingers, with such meticulously glamorous nails. He could control the audiences mood with just a flick of his eyes, or the tone of his voice. He is one to be watched, and a force to be reckoned with as it is clear from this performance he has a long and full career ahead of him!

The laughs did come at a cost – the few moments of sadness in the story seemed to be missed as the cast prepared for the next line of funny. This however didn’t detract from the story in any way, it just meant the emotional rollercoaster didn’t seem as high and low as it could have gone – the twists, turns and loop-the-loops were still as poignant and promising on board this metaphorical ride.


The staging was fantastic and true to life, the band played each song as if it were there final curtain call, the audience ended the performance up on their feet and cheering for more. The audience and cast were so responsive to one and other and it truly made for an electrifying piece of theatre.


It is hard to find a negative when a performance is so clearly adored by the cast and creatives – each member of the performance team gave it 100%. The male ensemble looked beautiful in their drag, and credit to the director and choreographer, who clearly used every last drop of their potential.


This piece of theatre is truly inspiring and sings strong the messages of the LGBT+ community, as well as showing the general public some of the things they have to put up with. The focus on homophobia in the workplace was sterling, the message was crystal clear, and I would recommend this show to anyone who needs to see that we are all equal.

In true Elemental Theatre Company style, the show began outside the hall of Nottingham Theatre Royal, and began in the foyer, with 12 foot replica boots on display for photo opportunities. Even the audience got involved as some members came to observe this outstanding production in drag and kinky boots of their own.


This show is on at the Theatre Royal Nottingham 27th of May to the 8th of June 2019. The tour continues through Sheffield, Cardiff, Norwich, many more, ending in Hull on the 23rd of November 2019. I highly recommend catching this show with this sterling cast. It is not one to be missed.


Kinky Boots Live Tour

© 2019 by Elemental Theatre Company