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

This big-hearted musical arrives in the West End with six Tony awards. Based on a British film from 2005, it is a first foray by veteran pop star and activist Cyndi Lauper into writing songs for musical theatre and at its best is a glorious high-kicking romp.

Killian Donnelly’s Charlie Price inherits a struggling Northampton shoe factory and has to re-invent it.

Inspiration results from a chance meeting with drag queen Lola, who claims there is a future in crafting flashy, thigh-length boots for the sort of cabaret artists who think there’s no business like shoe business.

Killian Donnelly makes Charlie a lovable hero. We root for him as he swaps his blandly aspirational girlfriend Nicola for his passionate, quirky employee Lauren (Amy Lennox) — and as he discovers the wonders of outrageous footwear (the extravagant costumes are by Gregg Barnes).

But Matt Henry, a finalist on The Voice two years ago, is the heart of Jerry Mitchell’s dynamic production. Though his Lola may be a flamboyant diva, he also has a disarming vulnerability at key moments.

And when he is flouncing around, claiming that every drag queen is the spiritual heir of Cleopatra, his supporting troupe of Angels are never far behind — dripping sequins and charisma in equal measure.

The set pieces are pulsatingly choreographed and there is no shortage of catchy tunes.

With its infectious energy and richly enjoyable performances, Kinky Boots feels like a show that has got legs.

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