The unlikely friendship between a dynamic drag diva and a stoic entrepreneur reveals the truth at the core of our humanity; we have a lot in common with those who we consider to be different.
Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s collaboration in the musical Kinky Boots is simply magical. The Broadway veteran and the pop icon conceived an incredibly touching story interlaced with memorable and emotive songs that made me want to dance one moment, and lament the next.
I love a well-written narrative and despite the many technical highlights in this production, for me, a strong story is key to a musical’s success and longevity. This story hit all of the right notes as I caught myself smiling, laughing out loud, and wiping tears throughout. When I experience a show, I tend to walk through a story with the characters. If the performances are strong, I am able to feel every emotion from that character’s perspective.
Considering that I watched a Sunday matinee performance at the end of an eight-show week, the production was extremely impressive. The energy from the performers and the orchestra was electrifying and it stirred and inspired me.
There were stand-out performances from Callum Francis as Lola/Simon, Toby Francis as Charlie Price, and Sophie Wright as Lauren. The Angels were particularly divine in their eye-popping costumes. The lovable ensemble had excellent comic timing and the entire cast presented Jerry Mitchell’s choreography with class and sass.
The score boasts many wonderful songs and the orchestra were superb under the musical direction of the talented Luke Hunter. If I were to shortlist any, I would say the following were highlights for me:
- Everybody Say Yeah – Charlie & Ensemble
- History of Wrong Guys – Lauren
- I’m Not My Father’s Son – Simon & Charlie
- What a Woman Wants – Lola & Ensemble
- In This Corner – Referee Angel & Ensemble
- Soul of a Man – Charlie
The resounding themes of the show echo in my mind. “You can change the world when you change your mind” is such a poignant message and relevant to our socio-political climate. Lola’s challenge to Don, “Accept someone for who they are” was such a virtuous proposition in the face of animosity. The size of Lola’s character was represented in more than just her six-inch heels.
Callum Francis’ committed portrayal of both Lola and Simon was heart-wrenchingly beautiful. It caused me to reflect on what more I could do to make those around me feel included and cared for, regardless of any differences we may have on the surface. Lola is unapologetically glamorous and Simon is vulnerable and plagued by the relationship with his father, his friendship with Charlie summarised so fittingly in the words “We’re the same Charlie Boy, you and me.”
Toby Francis’ embodiment of the heir to Price & Son was excellent. His struggle to navigate his father’s and fiancée’s expectations of his future leads him to a serendipitous meeting with Lola. From there, he discovers a “niche market” in glitzy stiletto boots allowing him to save his troubled family business.
Both the leads had powerful stage presence and powerful voices to match.
I had the privilege of chatting with one of the divine Angels of Kinky Boots, Mark Stefanoff.
Q and A with Mark
How are you finding the touring life?
Love it! It’s the best way to see Australia
What’s the best thing about being in this production?
To be able to spread a relevant message and to explore my craft
What have you learned?
To trust. To react. To enable
Give us some advice in 25 words or less.
If it feels right it is right. Your journey begins with you
Thank you for your generous insights Mark.
My mother was my date for this sensational musical treat. She could not say enough good things about it and enjoyed every moment. If you have not seen Kinky Boots yet, I strongly suggest that you make the effort to catch it in Sydney at Capitol Theatre before the 13th of August or book a flight to Brisbane where it will run from 22nd of August at the QPAC.
To me, it was Billy Elliot, Once, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert combined into one deliciously-good production. You’ll be sorry if you don’t catch it while it is in Australia.
I’m going to give it five unapologetic hearts because stars seem insufficient! ♥♥♥♥♥
Venue: Capitol Theatre, Sydney
Performance: 3pm, Sunday 9 July 2017