Photo credit Matthew Murphy

“Kinky Boots” Kicks Off the New Year with Fabulousness at Place des Arts

Font Size » Large | Small


When the world changes, what can be done? When faced with adversity, what are the choices that can be made? Will those choices bring changes that are frightening or move life into a brighter future?

“Kinky Boots”, the Tony Award-winning musical based on the Miramax film (which was loosely based on a true story), is a terrific, sequin-sparkling explosion of joy, with a very human story of accepting changes and accepting others.

It is the story of a hapless shoe manufacturer in Northampton, England faced with closure due to stagnant sales and cancelled orders. The company’s owner, Charlie Price (Curt Hansen), is faced with a major decision: to close the plant, fire the employees he’s known all of his life, and move to London with his fiancée, Nicola (Katerina Papacostas). He doesn’t see any other choice until co-worker Lauren (a wonderful Rose Hemingway) points out that the company could find a niche market and create shoes for that market. Charlie is inspired. He meets drag queen Lola (J. Harrison Ghee) in a chance encounter. Charlie notices that Lola’s high heeled boots are not designed to be worn by men. He offers Lola a job to design boots for drag queens and to show the new line at a trade show in Milan. The hope is that the demand for the boots will save the company.

The duo names the new venture ‘Kinky Boots’.

However, the employees at the plant are not entirely on board with this change of product. They are wary of the flashy and confident Lola, especially the men. Lola threatens their definition of what is a man or least what is masculinity. Charlie has his issues too with the expectation of following in his father’s footsteps in running the company. Lola confides in Charlie that he did not exactly meet up to his father’s expectations either.

Mr. Ghee is sensational as the louder than life Lola. His vocals are powerful and poignant, especially in the number “Hold Me in Your Heart”. Mr. Hansen is also tremendous at portraying a young man stumbling along trying to do the right thing. His solo “Soul of a Man” is terrific. The whole cast is marvelous:  Lola’s chorus, the Angels are a riot and the working class are portrayed without clichés. Everyone brings an energy that is joyful and infectious. The pace never lags.

The sets and costumes, particularly those worn by Lola and the Angels, are big, bright, and full of light. It conveys a sense of hope and optimism no matter what hardships are around. The employees’ costumes are drab in reflection of the state of their employment in spite of their state of mind.

Lola and the Angels

Lola and the Angels

The songs, penned by the great Cyndi Lauper, are delightful, powerful, and catchy. Numbers such as “Everybody Say Yeah” and “Raise You Up/Just Be” are rousing and unforgettable.

The show addresses the concerns and pains between father and son, big city vs. working class town, conformity vs. non-conformity, and what it means to be a person. It handles these themes with the compassion and humanity that it demands for itself.

When the world inevitably changes, there is always a choice that can be made. The steps taken to adapt and perhaps transform require courage, acceptance, and faith in oneself and others. And great pair of boots.

Photo credit Matthew Murphy

“Kinky Boots”: presented by evenko and Broadway Across Canada. Music and Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper; Book by Harvey Fierstein. Directed by Jerry Mitchell. Show runs until January 8, 2017 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts, 175 Ste.-Catherine Street West, Montreal. Tickets $101.44 to $32.35 plus tax. Call the box office at 514-842-2112 (or 1-866-842-2112) or go to www.placedesarts.com

 

 

About Yolande Ramsay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *