Kinky Boots

Date 3rd June 2022
Society Festival Players
Venue ADC Theatre Park Street Cambridge
Type of Production Musical
Director Emily Starr
Musical Director Ana Sanderson
Choreographer David Mallabone
Written By book by Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper

Report

Author: Julie Petrucci

Kinky Boots by Harvey Fierstein, book by Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, is based on the Tony Award-winning film (starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gemima Rooper and Sarah Jane Potts) and is a true story. Set in a Northampton shoe factory, Price and Sons, where Charlie Price is facing huge debts following the death of his father. He either has to diversify or go under. His fiancée wants to sell the factory and make a killing in the property market.  But Charlie has other ideas and a drag queen may have the answer and Lola enters Charlie’s life to become an unlikely creative consultant.  

Where does one start? Festival Players have a strong reputation for first class productions and Kinky Boots certainly lived up to that!   

The set was simple, but effective, and allowed for maximum space onstage for the 25 cast members. Metal steps led to a raised platform to allow the boss to oversee the factory floor complete with work stations and, as the action moved from nightclub, to pub and other locations, the scene changes were done swiftly and often as part of the action ensuring the smooth transition throughout. The lighting was effectual and although sound levels were a bit suspect initially this was soon sorted out.  Liz Milway’s costumes were first class, colourful and fitted well. There were numerous changes, specially for ‘The Angels’. The factory workers were well thought out, practical and in keeping with the story.   

Festival Players are fortunate to have some very talented individuals in their company.  It reflects well on the society that many of the cast are often seen in lead roles yet are happy to be part of the show in an Ensemble capacity.  This obviously reflects in the high standard of performance that this company achieves. 

As Charlie Alex Butcher gave both a strong and polished performance overall and confidently sang some difficult challenging songs. He showed great versatility in his role. Sam Shepherd who appeared as Lola/Simon was convincing and charismatic as the showgirl. His dancing and singing were great and his overall performance was first rate.  These two leading roles were outstanding throughout, their relationship was well handled and they were given great support from the rest of the enthusiastic company. 

Other commendable performances included Isabella Luba (Lauren) who made the part her own, great animation, appropriately bubbly, self-assured, and funny. Kerry Hibbert (Nicola) whose relationship with Charlie seemed fragile from the outset played her role with conviction and confidence.  Zacharias Szreter (Don) had it just right, a typical reactionary bloke of his time, but came around to wearing those kinky boots in the end! Matthew Brown (George) as the foreman had great characterisation and stage presence. Choreography by David Mallabone was super and a special mention to Lola and ‘The Angels’ Owen Angier, Kyle Beckett, Freddie Chefel, Tom Greenhalgh and Ash Smith.  They were all resplendent in their outrageously dazzling costumes, performing athletic dance moves incorporating high kicks, splits etc. They were first class and fabulous to watch. They must have rehearsed and rehearsed to get it right, especially moving with such confidence on those perilous heels! It certainly paid off

As well as the impressive all singing, all dancing Ensemble players there were engaging performances too from the rest of the supporting cast, including Luke Thomas as Harry; Frankie Woolgar as Pat; Kirsty Smith as Trish; James Hayward as Richard Bailey; Rich Evans as Mr Price; and finally, Charlie Blackmore as Young Charlie and Miles Jabbie as Young Lola/Simon. 

My congratulations to everyone concerned, not only to a great cast but to Director Extraordinaire  Emily Starr, supreme Choreographer David Mallabone along with the genius of Musical Director Ana Sanderson who did a marvellous job with the vibrant music delivered by a great sounding orchestra. It was an unforgettable show for all the right reasons, very impressive