August 22, 2022
Review: 'Kinky Boots' – An Eye-Popping Delight
Will Demers READ TIME: 2 MIN.
With its message of acceptance and inclusivity, "Kinky Boots" is a show that says be proud of who you are. With a book by Broadway royalty Harvey Fierstein ("Torch Song Trilogy," "La Cage aux Folles") and songs by Grammy and Tony award-winning artist Cyndi Lauper, it has a fabulous pedigree.
This show entertains from the opening songs, "Price & Son Theme" and "The Most Beautiful Thing in the World," which introduces our protagonist, Charlie Price (the adorable Luke Hamilton) and Nicola (a sassy Etta Grover) and gives us the backstory of a Northampton shoe factory, owned by a proud dad Mr. Price (James Andrew Walsh.) After Price passes on, his son realizes that things aren't what they seem. The factory has been struggling for years. Heading to London to sell the factory's extra stock, he encounters a lady being harassed by hoodlums and unsuccessfully intervenes. Waking up backstage in the presence of drag performer Lola (a spectacular Julian Malone,) he is amazed by her footwear's inability to support the weight of a man.
Factory employee Lauren (the lovely Audrey Belle Adams) suggests a "niche market" and, voila! Boots with heels for drag queens that can hold up through any performance. The simple-ish premise belies the fact that these two will become friends; but it takes some time. From Northampton these two will eventually end up in Milan, showing their wares to the fashionistas. Lola's designs, Charlie's experience and the support of his reluctant staff, notably a homophobic Pat (a very funny Corey Scheys) and some disgruntled workers make magic with boots on stage in this colorful and bright show.
Artistic director Kevin P. Hill guides a stellar group of performers, including Lola's "Angels" who absolutely must be mentioned here: Tyler Dema, Ricky Loftus George, Jaye Jackson, Pablo Prnia, Wyatt Slone and Stephen Vaught, who give new meaning to talent. Kat Gold, who made a splash in last month's "Cinderella," is back as Trish and is just as fabulous as before. Kyle Dixon's sets never disappoint, and original Broadway costumes by Gregg Barnes are featured here to eye-popping delight. From the first notes to the last high kicks, this is the season closer that you absolutely cannot miss, and please take the whole family.
"Kinky Boots" is running through September 11 at Theatre By The Sea, 245 Cards Pond Road, Wakefield, RI 02879. For information or tickets call 401-782-8587 or visit www.theatrebythesea.com . TBTS has lifted mask mandates for the season.