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Review: Kinky Boots

These Kinky Boots are made to kick some closed-minded butt! 

by Betty Bangles

 

Daaaahlings!

I took a trip down to Cape Town and with lots of thanks to The Fugard Theatre and Stage and Screen, I got to see Kinky Boots, and now I have something to say….

I first saw Kinky Boots two years ago on Broadway and fell in love with the show. So, when they announced that The Fugard will bring an original production of this show to South Africa, I threw glitter in the air and did a little celebratory dance of my own. But also, I was a little scared; Will they find the perfect Lola? Will the boots be fabulous? Will ‘Lauren’ be funny?

Well, in true Fugard style, they did NOT disappoint! This show is entertaining, and appropriate for all Walks and Feathers of life, but kiddies under 10 years old, may require some PG.  Before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you what Kinky Boots is about.

The story of Kinky Boots is based on true events, about two people who think they have nothing in common.  Factory owner, Charlie, struggles to save his family business, with Lola, an extraordinary entertainer having wildly exciting ideas of her own.  As the story unfolds, these two characters starts the journey to embrace their differences, to form their unique, and sensational friendship… and their own line of the infamous stilettos, unlike anything ever seen before.

Now back to me… or rather, my fears about this SA production. Like I said, The Fugard did not let me down. Lola is sensational, the boots are fierce, and ‘Lauren’ is a hoot.

Firstly, can I get an ‘Amen’ for Paul Wills’ set design. He used every square inch of a fairly small staging surface in such a way that it feels like you’re experience the Musical on a bigger scale stage. The lighting design by Tim Mitchel also deserves a special courtesy. A standout moment for me was the projection during the design scene.

Matthew Wild gets a kiss on the cheek from me. His direction plays a pivotal role in the smooth transitions of the scenes on a stage with some limitations.  Birrie le Roux gave me life with the costume designs. My favorite being the Angels’ outfits for the boxing match, with those high ponytails.

Darren Craig plays Charlie and Oh Boy, does he do it well. The song Soul of a Man is a tough one, and he smashed it. He can sing to me all day, every day.  Earl Gregory steps into the heels of Lola and do I dare say, it’s his best role I’ve seen him in yet. Gregory doesn’t play Lola, he becomes Lola. He forces you to look at him without saying a word.

Lola’s Angels are played by Tshepo Ncokoane, Philip Schnetler, Chester Martinez and Emile Doubell. They strut their stuff on stage in full fabulocity and makes you want to join them! Namisa Mdlalosa, who plays Lauren is fantastic and completely makes the character her own. Her version of Lauren actually works better for me than the ‘Broadway Lauren’. She steals every scene she’s in and her comedy timing is so perfect… I can’t even deal with it!

Kinky Boots tackle real life issues and pulls hard on your heart strings. It teaches acceptance and challenge the closed-minded. Not my Father’s Son made me do the ugly cry because I could relate to it so much. That is why Kinky Boots is such a loved and important show.

Everybody will find something they can relate to in the story and overall, it’s a toe-tapping, feel-good show.

If you have a heart, you will Love Kinky Boots!

This show currently plays on stage of the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town, until October 27, 2019.

 

Photo credit Jesse Kramer

 

Betty Bangles is South Africa’s leading drag artist, and a self-confessed theatre junkie. As a created character by artist-in-his-own-right, Bernard Buys, Miss Bangles’ involvement within the theatre and TV industry, stretches from on the stage, to behind the scenes.  Stage and Screen thought it to be very appropriate, to have a musical like Kinky Boots, reviewed by her.

This review was voluntarily done by Bernard Buys, and acted purely as a trusted contributor to Stage and Screen. The views depicted in this review, are that of the contributor, but edited and published according to the established identity and standards of the publication. We thank Betty for the contribution, and hope for many more collaborations to come.

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