REVIEW: Kinky Boots at Riverside Theatres

Review by Michelle Sutton

Packemin Productions and Riverside Theatres present the feel-good musical Kinky Boots. Based on a true story, Kinky Boots tells the story of a small-town shoe-making factory saved by an unlikely friendship and partnership between the owner Charlie and Lola, a fabulous drag queen from London. The book is written by Harvey Fierstein with original music and lyrics composed by Cyndi Lauper. Directed by Jessica Fallico, Kinky Boots at Riverside Theatres is a glitzy and heart-warming affair that everyone can enjoy.

Adam Rennie brings Charlie Price to life and stuns with his impressive range and beautiful voice, especially in up-tempo number Step One. Nat Jobe illuminates the stage as Lola, with more than enough charisma, talent and emotional depth necessary to portray Lola and to be believable as the catalyst for change in the story. Rennie and Jobe have strong chemistry as the unlikely friends that become each other’s confidantes and biggest supporters. Laura Garrick is an absolute stand-out, stealing the show with comedic number The History of Wrong Guys towards the end of Act 1. Garrick’s combination of vocal ability, stage presence and commitment to comedy is an amazing thing to witness and she continues to be a bright burst of energy on the stage for the entire show. On this night young Charlie is played by Jackson Parker and young Lola by Krithish Roshan. Both young actors are excellent, with Roshan’s openness and vulnerability as an actor shining through in the rollercoaster highs and lows of discovering the joy of heels and identity, followed by emotional scenes realising the of disapproval from his father.

Musical director and conductor Peter Hayward does a fantastic job leading the orchestra throughout the show. The ensemble is impressively strong and consistent across singing and dance, along with the supporting actors who bring the factory to life. Penny Stewart as Trish and Rachel Amanda Thomas as Pat provide the charming, down-to-earth, supportive pillars of the community and Tana Laga’aia’s Don is another stand-out dynamic and layered performance.

Guided by dialect consultant Jennifer White, the cast maintains a distinctive Northampton accent throughout the show. The show is choreographed by Cameron Boxall who also plays one of Lola’s Angels, the group of drag queens that Lola performs with in London. Lola’s Angels are a highlight whenever they appear, with amazing costumes and choreography executed flawlessly. The effect of the angels is visible; every time they angels appear in a number on stage, the audience relaxes more and more, becoming ever so slightly more raucous and excited and beginning to cheer and shout and dance in their seats. The juxtaposition of style and colour in the fashion of the two communities is a huge part of the musical and the costumes do not disappoint due to the hard work of head of wardrobe Audrey Currie.


Apart from a couple of unfortunate microphone issues, the production runs smoothly. Kinky Boots at Riverside Theatres is a gloriously fun and positive experience, with dazzling costumes, impressive musical numbers and messages of community, friendship and acceptance that anyone can appreciate.



Image Credit: Grant Leslie