Release your inner queen at Sunderland Empire and put on your Kinky Boots - here's what we thought of the show

Sassy and vivacious yet tender and heartwarming, the dazzling show Kinky Boots has arrived at the Sunderland Empire theatre.

Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 16:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 16:54 pm
The musical will be at the Empire Theatre until July 6

Inspired by true events, who’d have thought the unlikely tale of a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton just weeks away from closure would make such a touching, yet fabulous, Broadway musical.

The whirlwind production has some truly impressive dance scenes but is also laugh-out-loud funny, with quick witty gags, the odd bit of slapstick and the confident sass of Lola, played by Kayi Ushe, can’t fail to put a smile on your face.

Factory worker Lauren’s comical and almost dorky realisation that she has a crush on her boss is hilarious. Played by former Coronation Street actor Paula Lane, Lauren’s frantic performance had the audience giggling in their seats and her armpit wafting was a personal highlight.

Kinky Boots has arrived in Sunderland

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The musical tells the story of Charlie Price, played by Joel Harper-Jackson, who is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations after a family tragedy sees him return from London to his hometown of Northampton and working at his family’s shoe factory, Price & Son.

Lola and her troop of drag queen angels come to the rescue of the defeated factory-owner who faces sacking the workers he has grown up with and closing down his family’s legacy.

After a night on the drag scene, Charlie finds his niche and in a bid to save the company decides to design a range of footwear that no one else provides – stilettos for men or what Charlie calls ‘kinky boots’.

Ushe’s performance as fabulous drag queen Lola and his heart-felt portrayal of the man behind the make-up Simon is nothing short of exceptional.

Paula Lane (Lauren) and Joel Harper-Jackson (Charlie)

But the musical filled with glitzy costumes and intricate choreography also tells a heartwarming story of sexual acceptance and what it means ‘to be a man’ - and there are some genuinely touching moments.

Use of the set is clever and convincing and the costumes are spectacularly glamorous.

Kinky Boots is full of fun and laughter and when the shimmering and colourful finale arrived it had everyone in the theatre on their feet.

The musical is at Sunderland Empire until July 6.

Lol and her angels