The two performers taking on the principal roles of Charlie and Lola in the musical Kinky Boots need to have a special chemistry. As Director Jerry Mitchell explains, there’s a bromance happening on stage between Charlie and Lola and it is vitally important the pair have an onstage connection. However, the Kinky Boots bromance is not just on the stage.

“We’re such a great match onstage and off!” exclaimed Callum Francis. “We’re like two peas in a pod.”

Callum Francis plays the role of Lola. It’s a role he understudied – and performed – back home in the UK production of Kinky Boots. Callum Francis spends most of his time on stage playing opposite the character of Charlie, played by Australian performer Toby Francis. Yes, another Francis.

“It’s so random that he’s called Francis! I’ve never worked with another Francis,” Callum said.

Callum and Toby Francis met before their first Kinky Boots photo shoot. They decided it “might be an idea” to actually meet each other before any official events and planned about an hour together. That one hour ended up being more than five hours.

“We just hit it off instantly – which is refreshing because we’re going to be spending the rest of our time together here. I can already see this is going to be a great friendship,” shared Callum.

kinky-boots-promo-with-both-francis

Toby Francis as Charlie and Callum Francis as Lola

That friendship will be evident on stage too and it makes stepping into the role of Lola just a little easier for Callum.

“I understudied (in the UK) to the amazing Matt Henry and it was a challenge to step into his boots, so to speak,” explained Callum.

However, after performing the role many times throughout the UK season of Kinky Boots, Callum is more than ready for the challenge of taking on Lola in this Australian production.

“I like challenges. I don’t get nervous a lot. You only live once, so jump I say! So when this came about I grabbed it by the horns and thought, ‘I’m going to do it!’ Most of the anxiety was about moving to the other side of the world!”

callum-francis-interview

Callum Francis

Being Lola in the Australian premiere of Kinky Boots only really sunk in for Callum after the cast started singing during their first rehearsal together. Lola is a role he regards as a dream come true.

“It’s just so nice to go to work and do something you love,” Callum commented, explaining that you can’t play the high-energy Lola if you don’t love the role.

As for being dressed up as Lola – Callum admits he looks strangely just like his mum.

“She loves it! I always say I was the last try. We’ve got five boys and I was the last try (for a girl) – so she kind of got one!”

 

Don’t expect a carbon copy of what’s been done before; Callum’s portrayal of Lola will be his own unique interpretation of the character and he is looking forward to “shaking Lola up a little bit” for Australian audiences.

“Jerry’s brilliant! Jerry allows you to be yourself – to bring yourself to the role,” said Callum about Kinky Boot‘s Tony Award winning director and choreographer, Jerry Mitchell, adding that if you lined up all the people who have ever played Lola, they’re all completely different.

“He allows us to be completely different and that’s brilliant!”

It seems a very wise directorial decision for a show that celebrates in the song penned by Cyndi Lauper:

Just be.

Who you wanna be.

Never let ‘em tell you who you ought to be.

 

Kinky Boots opens in previews next week at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne’s East End Theatre District.

 

http://kinkybootsthemusical.com.au/

Kinky Boots logoEastEndTheatreDistrictLogo

Comments

comments