Review: Kinky Boots, Bristol Hippodrome

Review: Kinky Boots, Bristol Hippodrome

As it is half term, my daughter and I travelled to the Bristol Hippodrome to catch Kinky Boots for the first time.  Not knowing much about the musical, we went with open minds and came home with a new favourite show! 

Inspired by true events, the musical tells the story of Charlie Price played by Joel Harper-Jackson.  Instead of moving to London with his fiancée, Charlie inherits a Northampton-based shoe factory from his father. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, Charlie forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola (Kayi Ushe) as they produce a new line of high-heeled boots that is to set the business walking on a journey destined for Milan.

Joel Harper-Jackson (Charlie) Paula Lane (Lauren) and Kayi Ushe (Lola) in Kinky Boots which plays at Bristol Hippodrome until March 9, 2019 Photo Helen Maybanks

Joel Harper-Jackson (Charlie) Paula Lane (Lauren) and Kayi Ushe (Lola) in Kinky Boots which plays at Bristol Hippodrome until March 9, 2019 Photo Helen Maybanks

Featuring an eclectic musical soundtrack provided by Cyndi Lauper comprising rock, soul and disco, the magic of Kinky Boots had me hooked from the opening number. With an emphasis on feelgood, the ensemble company move the pace along quickly, while keeping the audience enthralled.

Joel Harper-Jackson’s portrayal of Charlie is magnificent, I loved the development of the character from the young playboy to passionate business man, while Jackson’s performance of the song, Soul of a Man was particularly standout. 

The cast of Kinky Boots which plays at Bristol Hippodrome until March 9, 2019

The cast of Kinky Boots which plays at Bristol Hippodrome until March 9, 2019

There’s a captivating performance from Kayi Ushe as Lola, who sizzles every time he takes to the stage.  The chemistry therefore is perfect as the relationship between Lola and Charlie develops conveying a strong bond between the characters.

Set in a shoe factory, the Kinky Boots set may seem simple in presentation. However, as the show progresses, different elements move and flow in different directions changing from a factory floor with conveyor belt (with real shoes on it!) to a flashy nightclub.  The lighting also enhances every scene creating much in the way of a magical musical atmosphere.

Alfie Parker, Joshua St Clair and Daniel Conway in Kinky Boots which plays at Bristol Hippodrome until March 9, 2019 Photo Helen Maybanks

Alfie Parker, Joshua St Clair and Daniel Conway in Kinky Boots which plays at Bristol Hippodrome until March 9, 2019 Photo Helen Maybanks

The standing ovation at the end of the first night performance clearly wasn’t just for the lead actors but also the whole ensemble who helped make Kinky Boots such an energetic feelgood must-see production.

A positive show which carries a firm message of accepting people for who they are and what they do, Kinky Boots is a production worth stepping out to see. It continues its run at Bristol Hippodrome until March 9, 2019.

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