'Kinky Boots' review and London Trip



So last night I managed to finally catch one of the most talked about and celebrated theatre shows of the last decade. This is my review for 'Kinky Boots' which I saw with my wife in London at the Adelphi Theatre on The Strand. We stayed over at The Grange, Holborn which is a really well located hotel with easy access to the tube and a lovely spa / pool.


The Grange, Holborn


This was my first stay in a Grange hotel and I really liked it. We only stayed one night and as a 'secret hotel' booking, I didn't do any research before we booked so this was very much a 'luck of the draw' occasion. The staff were polite and courteous, both in drab and 'Juliette' mode and were certainly very helpful and quick to respond to any questions / observations.


Our room was a Superior Queen room which was a really nice size, plenty of mirrors and ample space and lighting for makeup application. The decor has a sort of worn opulence and art deco style that reminded me of the Gramercy Park hotel in New York when I stayed there in the '90s. Below is a picture of the dress I didn't end up wearing since it was a little short and there was too much vpl going on...


We didn't stay for breakfast so I can't comment on that aspect but the bar was great for a post-theatre drink with the usual wide selection of wines, spirits and cocktails.



Walking to the theatre


I'm no stranger to walking in broad daylight but I'd chosen to wear my new platform heels which took a little bit of getting used to. The walk is about 20 minutes at a leisurely pace and skirts the outside of Covent Garden and takes you past the centre of the theatre district.


If anyone is thinking of taking this journey and walking in public I would say this as an absolute expression of fact and reality. I felt that I was recognised as a trans-male by virtually everyone that saw me. I got countless 'double-takes' and long stares from people who I passed on the journey. These are the looks that I saw and I really don't know about what happened behind my back. However, I didn't experience any issues or concerns for safety in the slightest. The fact is that I stand 6'5" tall in these heels and whatever else is the case, I'm going to stand out in the crowd.


You know that feeling when someone stares at you and you aren't sure why? Have I got something on my face? Do they know me? When you walk around town as a crossdresser you instantly assume that every one of those same looks is because they see you as a crossdresser. I don't know what percentage of looks were from people admiring my makeup or my dress or my hair but the temptation is to assume that all looks are a judgement of you being a man in women's clothing. It's important to remember that every time I interpret a look, I am making an assumption about the person giving me that look. As a guy I would wonder what they are looking at, as Juliette I have to stop myself from jumping to a conclusion just because I'm dressed.


Having said all that, it was a lovely walk, no issues and a thoroughly pleasant start to the evening.


The Adelphi Theatre


I've not been to the Adelphi Theatre before but it's a fairly typical London theatre with pretty low seats, not much elbow room but OK leg space. I say 'OK' in the context of other London theatres, there's no room to stretch but it didn't feel as compact as other locations.


The staff are very friendly and there is a really pleasant, lively atmosphere which comes from the anticipation of this kind of show. The foyer itself has a cardboard cut out of the Kinky Boots for photo opportunities but there was too much of a line for me to wish to queue on this occasion. We were seated in the dress circle in the midst of what appeared to be a large, elderly US touring party and a huge group of European students. The chap next to me was translating key parts of the show into Italian for his mother but she seemed to really enjoy things and it didn't disturb the performance.





Kinky Boots


For the show itself, I have already run out of superlatives from discussing on Facebook with friends. This is without a doubt the most fun I've had in a theatre in years, possibly ever. The show has a fabulous mix of heart, humour and glamour which sweeps across the audience in an infectious wave. I simply can't say enough about what a joyous experience this was in general.


Synopsis - The show tells the story of the relationship between Charlie Price; the reluctant owner of his family's failing shoe factory and Lola; a drag performer who has abandoned her provincial roots in favour of a more accepting and cosmopolitan life in London. The trans community may be just the niche market that Charlie needs to save his factory and the jobs of the people he grew up with.


I found Kinky Boots to be very funny with standout performances from Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Lola, David Hunter as Charlie and Verity Rushworth as Lauren. The entire ensemble delivered lots of laughs and the humour was on point but Lauren was a character that I just warmed to immediately, she had all the quirky charm of Bubble from AbFab and was a joy to watch.


The dancing, choreography and singing were also on point. The Angels were stunning and just so talented. I think I can move around well in heels but this is a different league entirely. Watching these athletic feats performed with such style and panache is a real treat and worth the admission fee alone. However, it's in the moral of the story that Kinky Boots really comes into it's own. The central message of acceptance is powerfully presented with a number of very poignant and heartfelt scenes but it doesn't preach to you. The show simply lays out a premise that people can change their minds and being open to change is the first step to acceptance.


In conclusion, I would recommend this show to anyone, it's a fantastic way to spend an evening and I have no doubt I will go again.


Aftermath


At the end of the show we simply jumped into a taxi and headed back to the hotel for a drink in the bar. A great end to a lovely evening.




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