By Jessica Cornish
In case you haven’t heard the Tony award-winning musical, I’m glad to inform you Kinky Boots has come to town. Reminiscent of Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, Rent and with a splash of La Cage Aux Faux, this musical was two hours of pure joy, inspiration and all things that glitter. It challenges the broader community to accept all people for who they are (Maybe Malcom Turnbull should grab a ticket?), and for us all to have the courage to be proud of who we are.
With music and lyrics created by 80’s pop icon Cyndi Lauper, orchestrations by Stephen Oremus, a book by Harvey Fierstein, and direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell, this beautiful story tells the tale of Charlie Price (Toby Francis) trying to save his family’s shoe factory by creating a new line of shoes for the transgender community inspired by an unexpected friend, Lola (Callum Francis).
The Australian cast were magnificent, giving an energetic and believable performance. But hands down, Callum Francis stole the show. This performer is a super star, his performance was flawless with silky smooth vocals, ounces of charisma and an overall incredibly strong stage presence. He was well complimented by leading man Toby Francis whose beautiful voice and vulnerability translated on to the stage effortlessly alongside Lola.
The music was playful and continuously rolled forward, and contained a balance of upbeat numbers interweaved with some beautiful ballads such as “Not My Father’s Son”, which explores the fallout of trying to live up to the expectations of those we love the most. And don’t worry, there are some more humorous numbers also thrown into the mix with the likes of “What a Man” and “The History of Wrong Guys”, the latter being a personal favourite that I feel a lot of women can relate to also.
The stage was painted with colour and beauty by the incredible costumes designed by Gregg Barnes, and further highlighted by clever lighting (Kenneth Posner), while the sound design was well-balanced and bright (John Shivers).
This modern-day musical is an upbeat, melodic pop-masterpiece that can live on outside of the walls of Her Majesty’s once the performance is done. Kinky Boots is easily one of the best pieces of theatre I’ve seen in Australia for years. If you only see one musical in the next twelve months, this is your pick!
12 October- 11 December
Ticket bookings: Call Ticketek 1300 795 012 or http://kinkybootsthemusical.com.au/
Price range: $60-$140
Her Majesty’s Theatre
219 Exhibition Street Melbourne
Image by Matthew Murphy