Arts & culture

Kink in the Mix

by Irina Nakonechna

It’s finally coming home: Kinky Boots the Musical is set to strut through the country in its first ever UK tour.

The dazzling production is the winner of every major ‘best musical’ award, including three Olivier Awards, a Grammy, a host of Tonys and the ‘Best Original Score’ award, snapped up by pop icon Cyndi Lauper. Lauper’s electrifying songs, teamed with the choreography of Hairspray’s Jerry Mitchell and a book written by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein, combine to form an onstage spectacular.

Based on a true story, the musical tells the soul-stirring tale of Charlie Price, a third-generation men’s shoe factory owner in Northampton. His family business is threatened with foreclosure until help arrives via an unassuming phone call from Lola – a drag queen searching for some fabulous footwear. Seeing a potential life raft for his company, Price begins to manufacture high-heeled boots in men’s sizes, and with Lola’s guidance, sees his designs end up on the catwalk in Milan.

Charlie Price’s character was inspired by Steve Pateman, a shoe factory owner in the village of Earls Barton, who received a serendipitous call from Sue Sheppard, the proprietor of a transgender specialist glamour wear shop in Folkestone. The story of Pateman’s company turnaround was captured by BBC documentary series Trouble at the Top, which then caught the attention of filmmakers, before becoming what is now the Kinky Boots musical. It’s both an elaborate visual spectacle and a poignant tale of hope, friendship and open-mindedness, embracing the impact that the warmth of human relationships can achieve.

Kinky Boots the Musical, 10th December – 5th January, Edinburgh Playhouse; 23rd April – 4th May, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen; 6th – 18th May, King’s Theatre, Glasgow