Kinky Boots is six inches of sassiness!

The shoes are glittery red, but we are definitely not in Kansas.

Toby Francis and Callum Francis in Kinky Boots. Image by Matthew Murphy.
Toby Francis and Callum Francis in Kinky Boots. Image by Matthew Murphy.

Kinky Boots is a fabulous, campy musical with the universal theme of following your heart and being true to yourself. Its timing in Australia couldn’t be more perfect with the upcoming same sex marriage vote, the show is a a great vehicle to humanise the issue. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a musical could help change the world?!)

Inspired by true events, the story of parental great expectations, and accepting yourself and others for who they are, was made into a documentary in 1999, adapted for film in 2005 (starring Joel Edgerton), and now has been transformed into a high-kicking musical. Kinky Boots the musical premiered in Chicago in 2012 and debuted in Broadway in 2013, winning a host of awards including six Tony awards, three Outer Critics Circle awards, a drama desk award, and three Olivier Awards.

Toby Francis, Sophie Wright, and Callum Francis in Kinky Boots. Image by Matthew Murphy.
Toby Francis, Sophie Wright, and Callum Francis in Kinky Boots. Image by Matthew Murphy.

The plot follows Charlie Price (Toby Francis) as he inherits his father’s financially failing Northampton’s Price & Son shoe factory, and although Charlie had other plans for his life, he wanted to save the worker’s jobs. Upon a chance meeting with the charismatic drag queen Lola (Callum Francis), and a cheeky prod from quirky factory worker Lauren (Sophie Wright), he stumbles across a business saving idea – high quality stilettos for men, dressed as women. The dream: sell the idea at the prestigious Milan fashion show.

With songs by Tony and Grammy award-winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein and direction and choreography by Tony award-winning Jerry Mitchell, the show is a mixture of pop, rock, ballads, and a bit of disco, with a host of fun drag queen numbers by ‘The Angels’. Hands-down, the best piece of choreography in the show features the factory workers putting aside their difference to work with ‘The Angels’ to produce a line of Kinky Boots – all atop a series of conveyor belts. Very. Clever.

Sydney-based performer, Toby Francis is a very likeable Charlie, transforming from an unassured, directionless, disappointment of a son, to a person of confidence, conviction and enterprise. His rock tenor voice also had a uniquely warm quality that was easy to listen to. Regardless of his female love interests, it was his relationship with Lola that was the most tangible and rewarding.

Kinky Boots. Australia. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
Kinky Boots. Australia. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

But it was British performer Callum Francis as Lola who stole the stage and the show. Sassy, quick-witted, charismatic and commanding, Lola could do or say anything and the audience would hang on every word, lyric, and hair flick. Having performed this role on London’s Westend as an understudy, it is well deserved that Francis was the first choice for Australia. Francis out-glitters anything on the stage by a galaxy. Even when he transforms to the quieter, insecure, and vulnerable Simon, he is fascinating to watch.

Special mention also goes to Sophie Wright who plays Lauren with a fun and endearing awkwardness with great comic timing, and Joe Kosky who plays the intimidating Don – his journey is also an important part of the story and Kosky does this with aplomb. The boxing scene between him and Lola was especially enjoyable (another piece of great choreography).

Kinky Boots is at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre till October 22, with audio described performances on September 20 and 27 matinees, and an Auslan interpreted performance on October 7 matinee.

Kinky Boots
Details
Company: Michael Cassel Group
Review Date: 26-08-2017
Presented By: Michael Cassel Group & QPAC
Directed By: Jerry Mitchell
Venue: Lyric Theatre, QPAC
Opening Date: 22-08-2017
Closing Date: 22-10-2017
Bookings
Online: QPAC Bookings
Phone: 136 246

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Author

Bobbi-Lea is AussieTheatre.com's QLD Co-ordinator, writer, reviewer, and reporter. She is also an actor, presenter, and theatre/film producer for Drama Queen Productions in Brisbane. Bobbi-Lea holds a Degree in Music Theatre as well as a Degree in Film & TV, and is currently doing her Masters in Screen Production.

Bobbi-Lea has written 370 articles on AussieTheatre | Read more articles by

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Kinky Boots is six inches of sassiness!
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