Kinky Boots

Date 1st November 2023
Society The Burton Musical Theatre Company
Venue de Ferres Academy, Burton
Type of Production Musical
Director Sam Walker & Oly Wright
Musical Director David Blackwell
Choreographer Catherine Moore
Written By Harvey Fierstein & Cyndi Lauper

Report

Author: Alan Bruce

Burton Musical Theatre Company

presents

KINKY BOOTS

Ladies, Gentlemen, and those who haven’t made their minds up yet, BMTC presents Kinky Boots. Based on the 2005 film of the same name written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth. The story, based on true events, of an unlikely friendship between two men of similar age but very diverse characters, who come together to save a shoe factory.

Bradley Hambleton as Charlie Price, reluctant heir to the Price and Son shoe factory, escapes his expected career path by moving to London with his ambitious Fiancé Nicola - Christina Foster. There’s a very subtle unspoken unfinished business undertone between the lovebirds which they played with a deft touch.

Following the sudden death of Charlie’s dad, played by Andy Last. Charlie returns to the factory, realising the business is in dire straits, unable to compete with modern cheap imports, he tries to offload returned stock in London with an old friend.

Here he meets Drag Artiste Lola - Edward Moore, this initial meeting usually raises an air of expectation in the theatre. I couldn’t decide if Charlie was too strong at this point, or Lola not quite the force of nature the role commands. This balance did shift, as Lola’s forthright persona grew and blossomed throughout. Similarly, her Angels, just didn’t really hit the mark collectively, as over the top Drag Queen personalities, when they strutted their stuff.

Charlie, fascinated by the footwear Lola wears has an inspired notion, niche marketing. A business rescue plan is formulated, bringing Lola to the factory to design a range of Kinky Boots for the world of Drag Queens.

Sex is in the Heel, rocked the foundations of Price and Son, inciting pop star like adulation from the drooling female staff, particularly Lauren, Pat and Trish; Sian Stewart, Karen Hambleton and Lauren Brown respectively, and foreman George - Iain Wishlade, joyously portrayed by one and all. Lauren’s exuberant comedic delivery of The History of Wrong Guys was a real hoot.

Lola, entering as Simon, starts working at Price and Sons as a designer, where he’s suddenly back facing the intolerances and homophobia he’d faced growing up, all of the things he’d thought he’d left behind, this was mainly spawned by Andy Hambleton as Don.

The focus for the new designs is the Milan Fashion Show, Charlie becomes obsessive, rude and bullying to the point of losing his fiancé and turning everyone against him. A wager between Lola and Don, leads to Don finally exorcising his personal demons, coming to Charlie’s rescue.

There were some beautiful harmonies throughout the show, particularly excellent were leads Charlie, Lola, and Lauren. The intense emotive power and finesse Lola brought to the poignant performance of Hold Me in Your Heart, in front of her wheelchair bound father, truly beautiful.

Directors Sam Walker and Oly Wright harnessed the wealth of talent BMTC have in droves, the cast created a nuanced realism and belief, great interaction and movement. A well designed set, capturing the essence of utilitarian factory stock, with good use of height.

Musical Director David Blackwell, whose brilliant band performed to a very high level, with emotion laden solos and well-rehearsed singing voices throughout.

Sound confused me throughout, normally this is so good it has become my sound benchmark, however last night, there were numerous late mic fades, cast were cut off mid-sentence or came in halfway through a sentence, some lines missed altogether, the bass frequencies overloaded one number in Act one, it just seemed out of control. Costumes were good, lighting came into its own late on in Act II.