BWW Review: North Carolina Theatre's KINKY BOOTS
Based on Julian Jarrold's 2005 British independent film of the same name which was inspired by a true story, Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price, who inherits a shoe factory from his father. To save the business, Charlie forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen, Lola. With Lola's help, Charlie develops a plan to produce a line of high-heeled boots. In the process, he and Lola discover that they are not so different after all.
Almost five years ago, I reviewed the first national tour of the 2013 Tony-winning musical at DPAC as part of my first year writing for BroadwayWorld. Since then, the Broadway production ended its run on April 7th, 2019 after a run of 2,505 performances, and is currently in process of being licensed to schools, community, and regional theatres all over the world through Music Theatre International. Not to mention that the West End production was filmed professionally, and can now be seen on BroadwayHD.
As for North Carolina Theatre's production which is currently playing at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium through February 16th, director/choreographer Nathan Peck (who was a swing throughout the entire run of the Broadway production) mostly recreates Jerry Mitchell's work with cinematic staging and showstopping production numbers. The very talented cast he's assembled consists of people who have done the show before as well as newcomers to the material. In fact, two of the principal players (Grace Stockdale as Nicola and Joe Coots as Don) are actually reprising their roles from the first national tour when I saw the show at DPAC back in 2015.
Graham Scott Fleming proves to be quite a caring Charlie Price as he goes on a character arc throughout the show from starting out as a reluctant guy to take over his father's shoe factory to having a change of heart. Joseph Anthony Byrd gives a very dynamic performance as the drag queen with a heart of gold, Lola. When he's appearing as his alter-ego, he shows off a very fierce and flamboyant personality. Yet, Byrd is also able to display some more tender moments in the show, especially near the end of Act I with such a heartfelt rendition of 'Not My Father's Son'. Other highlights of the cast include Sydni Beaudoin as working class girl, Lauren, who ends up falling in love with Charlie. She even gets to display some nice comedic skills in her big number, 'The History of Wrong Guys'; Grace Stockdale as Charlie's long-term girlfriend, Nicola; Joe Coots factory worker, Don; and John Scherer as factory manager, George.
By the time Kinky Boots officially becomes available for licensing, I'm sure it's going to be a very popular choice for high schools and community theatres to produce. Though if you're in the Triangle area this week, you should definitely check out North Carolina Theatre's Broadway-caliber production. Not only will you have a great time foot-tapping to Cyndi Lauper's tuneful score, but you will also leave the theatre with a great message of acceptance and just being who you want to be.
For more information, please visit: