Kinky Boots | The Fabulous Fox Theatre

Kinky-Boots 75Kinky Boots is a phenomenal show that does not take itself too seriously. It is happy, fun, and playful with no shortage of touching moments.

 

 

Kinky-Boots 500

Kinky Boots opens with the exuberant exclamation that “the most beautiful thing in the world” is shoes—as if I needed reminding! There is at least one person who doesn’t think so though. Little Charlie Price has no interest in his father’s Northampton shoe business, which is inconvenient considering the business is named Price & Son. Can you say foreshadowing? By the end of the number, young Charlie (Anthony Picarello) is replaced, swapped out for an older Charlie (Steven Booth), who is in his late 20s. With him is long-term girlfriend Nicola (Grace Stockdale) who has taken it upon herself to decide the two shall move to London. (She’s gorgeous, and has fabulous taste in heels, but you’ll basically hate her from the beginning). The two leave Northampton and Price & Son for a new life, but before they are fully moved in, Charlie receives tragic news. His father has died. At this point, our story really begins.

It comes as no surprise to me that Kinky Boots won multiple Tony Awards. The word I’ve most often heard associated with this show is joyful, which I think is significant because, when you think about it, how often do we really see this word applied to something that isn’t a religious institution or the birth of a baby. Kinky Boots is a phenomenal show that does not take itself too seriously. It is happy, fun, and playful with no shortage of touching moments. It promotes the importance of having an accepting heart (towards situations of all kinds) so genuinely that I wish could bring every closed-minded person I have ever encountered back to see it!

After his father’s death, Charlie finds himself thrust into a position of authority he never asked for, confronted with an enormous stock of last season’s unsold shoes. Shutting down the factory would’ve been the easy way out if it were not for the factory workers. These individuals may not be the main characters, or the faces on press materials for this show, but they are absolutely essential to the production and forward the plot several times throughout. What I love about them most is they are average people of all shapes and sizes. Charlie keeps this factory open for them.

By what can only be considered a stroke of fate mixed with bad aim, Charlie is knocked upside the head by the person who would inspire the niche market necessary to reinvent and save the business—drag queen Lola (Darius Harper). The idea that blossoms from Charlie’s first encounter with Lola is so marvelously clever and authentic you’ll wish you had come up with it first! Women’s heels, Charlie realizes, are not designed to support the weight of full grown men, like Lola. This realization combined with the message of Lola’s sultry number “Sex is in the Heel” leads to the conception of the show’s namesake—kinky boots! Ladies, gents, and those of you who have yet to decide—as Lola and her crew of Angels like to tease—you all will want a pair of these by the end of the show. If they sold them at the merchandise table, I’d have a pair in every style!

Darius Harper is superb as Lola, a drag queen persona who has the sass and style of daytime TV talk show host Wendy Williams, and is just as wonderful in his attempts to embrace Lola’s gender of birth as Simon. “Not My Father’s Son” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard on stage, in a newer show, in quite a while. Cyndi Lauper’s music and lyrics are a breath of fresh air.

Lola and Charlie have more in common than either of them could have imagined. During the opening song, in addition to meeting little Charlie, a young Simon (Jomil Elijah Robinson) is onstage as well, having fun singing and walking around in a pair of red high heels. Robinson’s sweet but powerful voice is so angelic and precious I wished we could have spent a little more time with him. I know I keep coming back to this opening song, but it’s perfect. I’ve never seen an opening that does a better job of establishing the tone, characters, relationships, choreography, and emotions that will dominate the entire show.

Coolest part: Kinky Boots is based on a true story! | Megan Washausen

Kinky Boots runs at The Fabulous Fox Theatre through April 5. For ticket information, visit http://www.fabulousfox.com/.

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