REVIEW | Kinky Boots at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Everybody say yeah! Kinky Boots has arrived in the West Midlands and is raising up crowds at Wolverhampton Grand

There are very few shows that leave you feeling elated and glowing from the soles of your shoes to the tips of your fingers – but Kinky Boots is one of them.

Having scooped up pretty much every huge theatre award going including an Olivier and a Tony Award, the hit West End and Broadway show has laced up its glamours red boots and is currently strutting its way across the UK, bringing plenty of sass, glitz and glamour to boot.

Infectiously funny and devilishly witty, Kinky Boots is a show that’s been on my must-see list for goodness knows how many years. And after finally seeing it during its run at Wolverhampton Grand, I immediately wondered why I hadn’t sprinted my way down to London to see it sooner. I’ll stop with the shoe puns soon, I promise.

Joel Harper Jackson (Charlie) in the Kinky Boots UK Tour - Image Credit Helen Maybanks
Joel Harper Jackson (Charlie). Credit Helen Maybanks

Packed with emotion, passion and plenty of red, this sexy show is what makes theatre so special.

With music from the legendary Cyndi Lauper and book by Broadway’s Harvey Fierstein, it follows the life of Charlie Price, who’s left in a bit of a knot after his father passes away, leaving Charlie with his family’s shoe factory that is struggling to make ends meet.

Determined to save his staff and put a spring back in their step, Charlie is given the kick he needs when he meets drag queen Lola after she quite literally boots him around the head.

Despite their striking difference in appearances, Charlie and Lola discover that they’re actually not that different, and embark on a mission to save the factory when young Charlie discovers a niche in the market – men’s shoes for men who dress as women.

So, putting their best foot forward – I really am sorry about all these shoe puns – the unlikely pair team up to design the most glamorous line of shoes to present at Milan fashion week, in hopes that they’ll give the factory and its staff a chance of survival.

Joel Harper-Jackson is simply superb as Charlie, a role that was most recently taken on by Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie on Broadway.

Charming, ever-so-slightly adorable, he has no trouble in belting out the challenging notes and bringing plenty of emotion to the role and was the perfect match for Lola.

Speaking of which, stepping into the sultry shoes of what now may be my new favourite drag queen of all time, was Kayi Ushe.

Kayi may be down as the alternative Lola before he takes on the role permanently in a few months time, but had I not known any different I would still be dishing out praise for his performance like no tomorrow.

There’s so much to love about Lola; pushed into training to be a boxer by his father to channelling his inner goddess at her London drag show, she’s powerful, delicate, determined, sexy and wonderfully witty.

Let me tell you, Ushe knows how to strut in those boots, with a walk that would even give a Victoria’s Secret model a run for their money.

Her power and confidence are admirable, and her infectious personality works its way through the factory, warming up even the coldest feet in the butch Northampton blokes.

Kinky Boots UK Tour Cast - Image Credit Helen Maybanks (1)
Credit Helen Maybanks

Inside, I was screaming yas, queen with every killer dance move, every note, every step she took. Kayi took on the role of Lola and did her absolute justice.

The supporting cast were equally sensational and brought an incredible energy to the stage that you would expect to find in a West End show.

There’s so much I loved about this show, from the stage to the lights, choreography and music and everything in between, but nothing was more heartwarming than the beautiful relationship between lovable Charlie and fierce Lola.

Anyone would be a fool to question the brilliance of Kinky Boots. It’s held a huge reputation in the world of theatre and cinema for well over a decade and it’s just as successful now as it was when it made its debut all those years ago.

Simply hilarious, unmissable and undeniably a heck of a lot of fun that will have you laughing all night long, Kinky Boots is a show that’ll keep on walking its way through theatres across the globe for many years to come.

Kinky Boots runs at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday, October 27.

You can book your tickets here. 

Disclaimer: I was gifted these tickets by Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. All views of this performance are my own unless stated otherwise.

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