Kinky Boots

by | Dec 8, 2023

 

Review by Suzanne Tate

 

Kinky Boots was an absolute powerhouse of a show!

 

Unlike most theatre folks, I have never seen the show or film, and as I don’t list to the soundtrack until I’ve seen a show, I’ve also never heard any of the music. I came to this review with zero preconceptions. My only connection is that I was a big Cyndi Lauper fan back in the 80s (Shhh, I know I’m showing my age). So, despite zero expectations, Kinky Boots has blown my mind! The friend who accompanied me gave the show 6 stars out of 5 and described it as ‘Contagious’! personally, I am bound by our site rules to stay within the 5 stars, but it definitely gets all of those from me!

 

Kinky Boots is based on a film of the same name by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth. The book was written by Harvey Fierstein, and as I implied earlier, the music and lyrics were written by Cyndi Lauper. I admit I was surprised by the music – not disappointed, it was fantastic, but even though Lauper is not known for musical theatre, there was nothing of her pop music style in the show. This isn’t always the case – as a fan of Tim Minchin, I can hear his style in the music and lyrics in Matilda, for example.

 

 

One of the things that always amazes me when I see a show at Chapel off Chapel, is how Directors and Choreographers stage a show that is intended for a much larger stage, in such an intimate space. Once again, that was a highlight of this show. Choreographers Luca DiNardo and Jordan Charles Herbert did an amazing job on that front. At no time did the audience feel shortchanged on the dancing, and they made excellent use of the stage and maximised the space with clever use of sets such as conveyor belts to maximise movement within a confined space. Creative set design such as the workshop stations on wheels, and a central set piece that could be advanced down stage or tucked under the raised platform, and which could be rotated to create various locations, such as a stage in a pub or a men’s restroom, also allowed more flexible use of the constrained stage.

 

 

But while the staging was impressive, and certainly created a vibrant, yet intimate atmosphere, it was the performances that stood out, and made the show so memorable.

 

Christian Charisiou portrayed Charlie Price as a complicated character, who went on quite an emotional roller coaster throughout the story. His singing voice was impressive, and he conveyed powerful raw emotion during his dramatic solo ‘Soul of a Man’ in Act Two.

 

 

Carl De Villa as Lola/Simon showed their dramatic and vocal flexibility throughout the role. With an impressive vocal range and an incredibly powerful voice, De Villa also presented a stunningly beautiful and heart wrenching ballad with ‘Hold Me in Your Heart’.

 

 

Jessica Faulkner as Lauren provided some comedic relief with a hilariously dramatic performance of ‘The History of Wrong Guys’ and Joseph Lizacic was disturbingly believable as the bigoted Don, whose character development was a very welcome surprise.

 

 

The entire cast was impressive. The ensemble vocals were consistently impressive, as were all of the dance numbers, and overall, the show was exceedingly entertaining and uplifting. The audience were drawn into the story and felt the full gamut of emotions as they shared the dramatic lives, emotions and histories of the diverse characters.

 

 

Kinky Boots was not just an epic performance of music, dance and acting, but tells a story with a very important message that needs to be heard. As the Director Martin Croft notes in the program, “we can’t love everyone, but we can be empathetic, understanding, respectful and most of all, kind. Just be …that!”

 

Kinky Boots is now playing at Chapel Off Chapel

For more information and tickets: https://www.kinkybootsmusical.com.au/

 

Photo credit: James Terry

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