Review - Kinky Boots (Adelphi Theatre, London)

Having taken Broadway by storm and transferring to the West End to rapturous praise, Kinky Boots was very much on my radar, but until this weekend I just hadn't found the time to see it. I finally decided to queue for dayseats (£25 for front row tickets) to see what all of the praise was about, but sadly, I'm afraid that Kinky Boots just didn't quite do it for me. 
When Charlie Price's father, the owner of Price and Son's shoe factory, dies suddenly, young Charlie Price must step up and save the factory from bankruptcy. When a chance meeting with drag performer Lola inspires Charlie to create a line of specially designed boots, it looks like his father's factory might be saved, but only if Lola, Charlie and the factory workers can put aside their differences and work towards a common goal. 

Now, I must start by saying that there is a lot to love about Kinky Boots' glossy West End transfer. Gregg Barnes' costume design is striking (there is certainly no scrimping on sequins), some of Cyndi Lauper's songs are quite fun if a little bit too pop-y and American for a show set in the midlands, and the actors and musicians are top class. I was also quite fond of some of the choreography, and at the end of act 2 a feel good finale was certainly delivered. 

Despite not loving Matt Henry's acting performance as Lola, there is no denying that his voice is marvelous. Amy Lennox is also brilliant as Lauren, a brassy but lovable factory worker with a thing for the new Mr Price, whose solo History of Wrong Guys was funny and relatable. Other reviews have praised West End performer Killian Donnelly (last seen leading the cast of my favourite show in recent history, Memphis) for his performance as Charlie Price, but at the performance I saw the role was played by understudy Paul Ayres, who gave the most notable performance without a doubt. A charismatic performer with impeccable comic timing, who sung the score effortlessly, and shone in standout numbers such as Step One and Soul of a Man, I was shocked that I'd never seen Paul Ayres in anything before, despite his impressive list of credits. Needless to say I'll be looking out for whatever he does next. 

However, despite all of this, for me Kinky Boots lacked a compelling storyline and felt a bit too predictable and fluffy.There were a couple of punchy moments, but they just missed the mark and failed to make me truly care about much of the conflict. It's hard for me to put my finger on exactly what is was that I didn't connect with, but for some reason, Kinky Boots left me feeling a bit flat. 

I'm glad I saw it, and I'm almost certain it'll bag countless more awards in the future, but for me Kinky Boots just didn't quite hit the spot.