The Kinky Boots the Musical, Official UK & UK Tour Website title treatment

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Kinky Boots Music by Cyndi Lauper |  Book by Harvey Fierstein | Directed by Jerry Mitchell
5 Stars

The Voice UK's Matt Henry is your new West End hero.

Matt Henry has landed a lead role in one of the most anticipated West End musicals of 2015, Kinky Boots, where he plays flamboyant drag queen Lola who helps transform struggling Northampton shoe factory Price & Son into a worldwide supplier of boots for men dressing up as women. If that isn't a plot to get you intrigued, nothing will.

Based on the 2005 film of the same name starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (which was in turn based on the true story of Steve Pateman's shoe factory), the musical has proved a big success on Broadway despite its heavy British influence. Did you ever think a play set in Northampton would be such a hit in New York?

Fresh from rave reviews in Memphis, Killian Donnelly takes the lead as Charlie Price, and just like his last role he finds the perfect blend of everyman likeability with an essence of funk and style. He is like a cross between Matthew Perry and Martin Freeman, with the added bonus that his singing voice is perfect for the West End. I'd buy an album from him.

However, it's Matt Henry that truly steals the show as Simon/Lola. He is utterly commanding in the role, and you instantly root for him alongside Killian Donnelly's Charlie and their unexpected friendship. He is a brilliant performer, and has all the style of Cat from Red Dwarf and punch of Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago. He may not have won The Voice, but we may have found the show's biggest star to date.

Lola is often joined by her Angels, a group of extravagant drag queens who guarantee joy whenever they appear. One of them is played by former X Factor runner-up Marcus Collins, and he gives an excellent, almost secret, performance. This could be a good springboard for future West End success for him.

There are also a great bunch of supporting stars that you quickly have an affinity towards, in particular Amy Lennox as quirky lovelorn Lauren and Jamie Baughan as the blokey bully-boy Don.

1980s pop superstar Cyndi Lauper provides the music, and considering this is her first foray into musical theatre, it's an impressive job. You can hear smatterings of 'Time After Time'-style pop songs as well as barnstorming showstoppers. The songs never outstay their welcome, and combined with Jerry Mitchell's choreography and David Rockwell's designs, it really is a treat for the eyes from start to finish.

Kinky Boots is hilarious, heartwarming and a hell of a lot of fun. It's been three long years for the UK-based musical to actually reach the UK, but it was definitely worth the wait.

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