Previewed 21 August 2015, Opened 15 September 2015, Closed 12 January 2019 at the Adelphi Theatre
The new stage musical Kinky Boots in London - adapted for the stage from the hit 2005 movie - featuring new songs by Cyndi Lauper.
Inspired by a true story that follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from the most unlikely person. Together, these two become an unstoppable team, and find that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible... proving that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.
This West End production of the 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Musical features songs by Cyndi Lauper with book by Harvey Fierstein and is adapted from the 2005 movie screenplay by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth. Directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell with sets by David Rockwell, costumes by Gregg Barnes, lighting by Kenneth Posner and sound by John Shivers.
When this show opened here at the Adelphi Theatre in Spetember 2015, Ann Treneman in the Times hailed it being "an absolute hoot of a show... the music and (clever) lyrics by Cyndi Lauper have an overall Boys Just Want to Have Fun theme. The script, by Harvey Fierstein, who is a sort of Broadway hit factory really, doesn't rely on swearing for laughs and has a very big heart. With Kinky Boots, these two have achieved something remarkable: a musical about drag queens and shoes and the Midlands that is total box office family entertainment... It's a hit, of that there can be no doubt. This is old-fashioned wholesome entertainment - with five-inch sequinned red heels on." Michael Billington in the Guardian thought that "this show visibly improves on the 2005 film. Jerry Mitchell's direction and choreography, in particular, give the show a physical dynamism that offsets the story's feelgood factor... it won me over through the quality of the lead performances, the verve of its staging and its conviction, in its fetishistic worship of thigh-high boots, that there's no business like shoe business." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail said that "the score by Cyndi Lauper is middling u.s. rock, by-the-yard fare. Harvey Fierstein's script has a few jolly moments but as many cliches. And yet the whole thing canters along with engaging verve and vim, once a dull opening 15-minute first quarter is done." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard explained that this "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.... Jerry Mitchell's dynamic production... 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." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph commented how, "amid a surfeit of blandness, directed with more slickness than flair by Jerry Mitchell, one performance stands out: Matt Henry's fabulously accoutred Lola gives the evening a vital sense of drama. When he's surrounded by his gender-bending go-go dancers, camping and vamping it up like mad, it's all pleasure, no pain. But otherwise it's way too pedestrian. Henry is a sure-footed sensation; this clod-hopping show isn't." Paul Taylor in the Independent held that the show "too often feels as if it's what you'd get if you programmed a computer with those musicals (plus La Cage aux Folles and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) and asked it to come up with a tuner about transcending prejudices and the self-help enterprise of the working-classes. It's good fun but, in my view, a bit too formulaic to induce rapture." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times wrote that Harvey Fierstein's "script here is efficient yet engaging. He preserves most of the gag lines from the original screenplay, and the changes he makes compact or intensify particular effects rather than fabricate new episodes. Cyndi Lauper's rock-pop songs, too, are serviceable, with few breakouts other than the all-cylinders act finales." Neil Norman in the Daily Express thought "most remarkable of all is that American rock princess Cyndi Lauper and writer Harvey Fierstein deliver a musical with all the juggernaut energy of a Broadway beast without diluting its essential Britishness. The script is a riot combining rapid-fire humour with a genuine feeling for human vulnerability. Lauper's terrific songs range from the show-stopping power pop of Sex Is In The Heel to the heart-aching ballad Not My Father's Son."
"This award-winning musical from Broadway strides into the West End complete with original, flat-footed jokes - 'my dad died of lung cancer; ironic that fags got him in the end' - but Cyndi Lauper's poppy rock numbers put a much-needed spring in the story's formulaic, predictable step... By the end I was less head over six-inch heels than shoe-horned into submission." The Mail on Sunday
"Former pop wild child Cyndi Lauper has dipped more than a toe into her new career. As composer and lyricist of this witty and award-laden New York hit she jumps right in with thigh-high boots. This is the footwear that saves a Northampton brogue maker from falling on its uppers. The story, based on the British 2005 movie of the same name, is a buddy tale that sees strait-laced factory boss Charlie team up with extravagant drag queen Lola to exploit a factory-saving niche - high-heeled boots for men. Writer Harvey Fierstein and especially Lauper's kick-ass score inject the wrought iron and red brick of a failing Midlands firm with the spirit of American can-do. 'No one's gonna shut us down,' cries the hitherto mild-mannered Charlie in one of the show's full-throttle rock numbers. 'Not while Charlie Price is around.' In New York this must have seemed like normal behaviour. Here, Brits ironically emoting like Americans is a very funny running joke. And never funnier than when shy factory worker Lauren finds her inner rock chick in a show-stealing performance by Amy Lennox. The pace drops in the second half as the story dwells on Lola and Charlie emerging from the shadows of their domineering fathers. But don't let the Midlands setting fool you, Jerry Mitchell's drilled production is Broadway at its best." The London Metro
"The only compensation I could find in Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper's raucous Kinky Boots was enthusiasm... This tells the story of a Northamptonshire shoe factory saved from bankruptcy when it adopts a new line of footwear for drag queens. The songs are shoehorned into the plot, contributing little in the way of local colour or emotional development... Your appreciation of the show will depend entirely on your taste for loudmouth drag queens and synthetic emotion. Judging by the response of the first-night audience, mine is far more limited than most." The Sunday Express
"Kinky Boots thinks it wants to have fun in vertiginous thigh-high heels, then ends up playing it safe. Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein's pop musical, based on a 2005 British indie flick, trounced Matilda at the Tony awards two years ago. Unlike Matilda, it shamelessly treads mainstream, feelgood ground: think The Full Monty cross-dressed as Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Still, it doesn't fall on its behind... There are things to get a kick out of (mainly glamazons) before the production starts to choke on industrial quantities of sentimentality. But while Lola sings The Sex Is in the Heel, when it comes to her romantic interests, the show runs scared." The Sunday Times
"This feel good show about drag queens, acceptance and - yes - shoes, finally lands in the UK... While 'Kinky Boots' are being constructed, life-lessons are learnt and stilettoed high kicks reach the ceiling. Henry is an electrifying stage presence - imagine Tina Turner meets Diana Ross - but when Lola isn't on stage the energy dips from a Louboutin high, to more reliable Clarks style plod." The Sunday Mirror
The musical Kinky Boots in London at the Adelphi Theatre previewed from 21 August 2015, opened on 15 September 2015 and closed on 12 January 2019.