Review - Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre, London

Kinky Boots the musical. Previous cast picture included.
Kinky Boots the musical. Previous cast picture included.

I have a shocking confession to make ahead of the touring production of Kinky Boots beginning its tour in Northampton next month.

I have never actually seen the film, and heading up to the West End was my first time experiencing the story of Kinky Boots.

Simon-Anthony Rhoden

Simon-Anthony Rhoden

Based on a true story, it's about a down and out shoe shop in Northampton that is soon resurrected doing women's shoes but for men.

But with the show entirely dominated by one character and Simon Anthony Rhoden playing the role of Lola is outstandingly flamboyant and there is plenty of stage presence and energy in this portrayal.

In a way, given that Lola stands out, Oliver Tompsett perhaps blends a little into the background as Charlie. In a way, it's a hard part to stand out as, excuse the pun, essentially it's the straight man of the dynamic. He struggles a little against some of the vivid campness from Lola and the working class characters who inhabit the shoe factory.

The story though is really rather good and one that really puts Northampton on the map. It does start a little slowly but the contrast between the tense almost out of date factory setting and the glitzy glam setting that Lola inhabits is a lovely contrast.

It might be easy to dismiss Kinky Boots the musical as frivolity, and on the surface, that might be the initial impression. But like The Full Monty, it is a show which says a lot about the state of industry and the lives of people left behind when factories start to fail. Even the segments with Lola has real heart with the sections about her being a fighter and saying hello to her estranged father.

It's still difficult to probably say this, but I am not sure that seeing the film before the musical is really necessary. This is a fantastic show and I can't wait to see how it adapts to being on the touring stage in Northampton later this month.

Kinky Boots can be seen at Northampton's Royal & Derngate from Wednesday September 19 to Saturday October 6. For more details visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.

To find out more about the West End production visit www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk.