Reviewer's Rating

5
Costumes
5
Sets
4
Lighting
4
Sound
5
Direction
4
Choreography
5
Musical Direction
5
Stage Management

People's Rating

Costumes
Sets
Lighting
Sound
Direction
Choreography
Musical Direction
Stage Management

Combined Rating

5
Costumes
5
Sets
4
Lighting
4
Sound
5
Direction
4
Choreography
5
Musical Direction
5
Stage Management

Everybody say yeah! CLOC has delivered an outstanding production in Kinky Boots!

Upon arrival into St Kilda’s National Theatre, the audience is immediately greeted by an impressive interior factory set, (designed by Brenton Staples), setting the bar high in anticipation. The wow factor continues with the opening number. With music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots is filled with a range of pop-styled energetic songs with catchy tunes and heart-wrenching power ballads.

Kinky Boots is a musical based on the real life story of a struggling shoe factory in Northampton, England, threatened with closure unless the newly appointed manager can come up with a product to reach a new market. While the musical opens by telling the audience the most beautiful thing in the world is a shoe, Kinky Boots takes the audience on a much deeper journey of kindness, friendship, tolerance and understanding, with a surprising warmth and tenderness.

This award winning musical first opened on Broadway in 2013, before having its Australian premiere in Melbourne in 2016. Audiences who saw the professional season will not be disappointed by CLOC’s interpretation of Kinky Boots. Superbly directed by Chris Bradtke, this is a new and fresh production that captures all the humour and tenderness of this story. The show is well paced, with scene changes occurring swiftly without impeding the flow. The cast maintained their accents throughout, but ensured all dialogue was remarkably crisp and clear.

There were some spoken lines lost over the volume of the music in a few places, but this can be quickly rectified, and overall the sound (designed by Marcello Lo Ricco) was well balanced.

Owen Clarke shines in the role of Charlie Price, effortlessly managing the vocals and bringing a warmth to the character that immediately endears him to the audience.

Rachel Rai is delightful in the role of Lauren and makes the most of every opportunity to capture the limelight in the never-too-over-the-top song ‘The History of Wrong Guys’. Lucinda Barrett gives a confident performance as Charlie’s self-absorbed fiancée.

Making his CLOC debut is Aaron Taylor who gives an outstanding performance as Lola, the alter-ago of drag queen performer Simon. Taylor is bold and sassy as Lola, but beautifully and sensitively portrays the frailty and vulnerability of Simon.

Despite the obvious leading roles, according to the original Broadway director Jerry Mitchell, the “secret weapon” of Kinky Boots is in fact, the character of Don. It is Don that delivers the real knockout message of Kinky Boots and is pivotal in moving the story beyond just entertainment. Geordie Worland brilliantly navigates the emotional journey of Don, capturing the heart of this character to deliver the important message of Kinky Boots and earning a thunderous applause from the audience.

Under the expertise of Musical Director, Daniel Heskett, the Kinky Boots orchestra perfectly recreates this bright and energetic score.

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing any amateur company taking on Kinky Boots is the costume requirements, but Victoria Horne has produced an exceptional array of quality costumes (teamed up with wigs by David Wisken), recreating some iconic Kinky Boots looks, as well as creating her own unique outfits. Bold costume choices for some of the Angels will have you checking your program and asking yourself, “They are men aren’t they?” And those sexy, red, high-heeled boots are just perfect.

Choreography by Steve Rostren is energetic and well suited to the diversity of performers, with some impressive routines presented by the Angels (Daniel Baker, Jamie Bray, Dylan Henry, Cameron O’Reilly, Jonathon Shilling and Robbie Wilton).

Kinky Boots is a fun-filled show, peppered with moments that will tug at your heat-strings, while delivering a powerful lesson about acceptance. If you missed the professional production, get a ticket to CLOC’s production while you can!

Kinky Boots is now playing at the National Theatre, St Kilda. For more details: https://cloc.org.au/

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