Scotland reviews 27 items
Kinky Boots at the Edinburgh Playhouse
Ladies, gentlemen, and those who have yet to make up their minds, Kinky Boots is for you all!

Inspiring, sassy and just fabulous, Harvey Fierstein’s uplifting musical, based on the 2005 film, marked Cyndi Lauper’s first foray into song writing for Broadway and has since gone on to win six Tonys and three Oliviers.

It’s easy to see why. It’s not just a huge entertainment with memorable songs, choreography and characters. It is a true story people in all walks of life can identify with, dealing with hard times, when there doesn’t seem to be a solution, and highlighting what people want out of life, which isn’t always the right thing. But mostly it deals with prejudice. It’s a celebration of, among other things, sexuality. The message is loud and clear: accept someone for who they are!

When Charlie inherits his father’s failing shoe factory he sees no other way but to close it down – until he rescues drag queen Lola from a couple of thugs and devises a way of making women’s boots for men. With Lola’s designs, she and her Angels go on to proudly strut their stuff while Charlie’s factory is saved.

Taking centre stage is, of course, Lola, being played until December 15 by Callum Francis. His performance is phenomenal, not just as the in-yer-face, convincing drag queen Lola – looking beautiful and with a voice to match (he could give Shirley Bassey or Diana Ross a run for their money) – but as the vulnerable, insecure Simon, whose father has disowned him. Not My Father’s Son, the duet he sings with Charlie, is heart-breaking.

Kinky Boots is as much Charlie’s story as it is Lola’s and Joel Harper-Jackson rises to the challenge, starting off as a wimpy boss’s son and ending up in ‘kinky boots’ in Milan! Along the way he and Lola discover they are not that different and their growing friendship is heart-warming.

Poor Helen Ternent. As Nicola, Charlie’s materialistic girlfriend, she has nothing going for her and it’s all credit to her that we dislike her whingeing, whining character. Lauren, on the other hand, is everybody’s favourite, hardworking and eager to please. It’s no wonder she’s also very funny and stands out from the crowd as she’s played by Paula Lane, formerly Kylie Platt in Coronation Street!

Adam Price as factory manager George and Demitri Lampra as heavyweight Don also make their mark as well-rounded characters adding to the humour. And as for the Angels… if I had ever looked anything near as beautiful, if my legs had ever been that long and my waist that tiny, I wouldn’t be writing about people, people would be writing about me, especially if could also do the splits, back flip and cartwheels, and in heels! All credit, then, to casting director Jill Green and head of hair and make-up Rebecca Kempton! And to the entire cast, especially the men, for managing so capably to dance on six-inch heels in the finale.

Kinky Boots is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Jan 5
www.atgtickets.com/edinburgh
Jan 14-26: Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Jan 29-Feb 9: Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent
Feb 11-16: Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Feb 18-23: New Theatre, Oxford
Feb 25-Mar 9: Bristol Hippodrome
Mar 11-23: Birmingham Hippodrome
Mar 26-Apr 6: Liverpool Empire
Apr 9-20: Leeds Grand
Apr 23-May 4: His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen
May 7-18: King's Theatre, Glasgow
May 27-Jun 8: Theatre Royal, Nottingham
Jun 11-22: Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
Jun 25-Jul 6: Sunderland Empire
Jul 9-20: Theatre Royal, Plymouth
Jul 22-Aug 3: Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Aug 19-31: Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin
Sept 3-14: Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Sept 17-28: Theatre Royal, Norwich
Oct 1-12: Opera House, Blackpool
Oct 15-26: Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
Oct 28-Nov 9: Milton Keynes Theatre
Nov 12-23: Hull New Theatre