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“Fierce and joyful” – Reviewing Kinky Boots at Hull Truck Theatre

Last night I was invited to Hull Truck Theatre to see local theatre company Beverley Musical Theatre’s production of Kinky Boots.

I love visiting the Truck Theatre as the shows always have an intimate feel, but Beverley Musical Theatre filled the space well. The cast is led by Martyn Payne as Charlie Price, and Adam Sperring as Lola / Simon.

Martyn’s portrayal of Charlie was very accurate to previous productions I had seen, and he impressed with a few opt-up notes which weren’t in the original score, notably during “Step One”, and “Soul of a Man”.

Likewise, Adam’s Lola was a fierce, all-frills drag queen who surprised the audience with an incredibly powerful voice. Lola’s vocals particularly shone during “I’m Not My Father’s Son”, and “Hold Me in Your Heart”, both deeply emotional performances. All of Lola’s humour and personality was captured by Adam brilliantly, and he had the audience laughing at all the exact right times.

Kinky Boots, which is based on a true story, tells the story of Charlie Price, who inherits the family business – Price & Son’s shoe factory, along with all of the trouble that the company has been in. All of their shoe orders are being cancelled and the company is at risk of bankruptcy.

Charlie encounters Lola, who is a drag queen struggling with her pair of “very expensive, but cheaply made” stiletto boots – as they’re not made to hold a man’s weight!

He returns to the factory and is informing his staff that they’re about to be out of jobs when one of his employees Lauren (Georgia Kingston) plants an idea in his head – If the product isn’t selling, find an “under-served niche market” and “change the product”. Charlie realises that Lola and her gang of Angels (Josh Murraybutler, Mark Gillyon, Stanley Brown, Richard McDonald) are an under-served niche market, so he pivots his factory into making a “range of men’s boots… for a range of men”.

Among his other employees is Don (Mike Wells). Big macho Don is very much a man’s man, and doesn’t subscribe to the idea of working for a drag queen. Throughout the show Don’s ideals are challenged, and he’s one of the characters who shows the most growth.

Georgia Kingston as Lauren gives an outstanding performance of “The History of Wrong Guys”, and has the audience in stitches. She’s one of my favourite characters in the show, and that’s one of my favourite songs. I find the comedy of her realising she’s developing a crush on Charlie, even though he’s already got a girlfriend – Nicola (Jade Easom-Samuels), to be very well placed during the show.

Though a few audio related issues came up, the cast all remained very professional and gave a memorable performance which was enjoyed by everyone in the audience.

Beverley Musical Theatre definitely have a good cast put together for this joyful production, and if Everybody’s Talking About Jamie hasn’t given you enough drag queens for Pride month, you should get down to Hull Truck before this one ends!

Kinky boots is running from Tue 18 June to Sat 22 June, and more info and tickets can be found here.

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