Review of Kinky Boots by Kaycee Conover

KB logoReal Life Wears Kinky Boots by Kaycee Conover, Student Critic

 
With feisty celebration and red hot passion, Kinky Boots brings you on a journey towards acceptance alongside Lola (J. Harrison Gee), a drag queen who has found himself in performing, and Charlie Price (Adam Kaplan), an uncertain twenty-something who finds his deceased father’s dwindling shoe factory in his disinterested hands. Together, the surface opposites use their specialties to save the factory, a home for so many workers, and along the way, find a home in themselves.
Instantly, the audience is swept into the show as the tornado of events begins the first act. The vibrancy of the music stuns and the execution of every note and step is effortless, creating a completely engaging performance. Lola’s witty comments to the audience only add to the inviting nature of the show. It successfully weaves real life into the fantastical storytelling of theatre, as exemplified in the overwhelming speed of events that closely resemble the intense nature of life itself. The alacrity of the entirety of the show does produce some incoherent lyrics, as there is so much to be said in just the exposition. Nonetheless, the vivid energy and thematic greatness of Kinky Boots tells the heartwarming tale deftly and beautifully.
Crafted with more than sparkles and shine, the characters of Kinky Boots are the foundation of its brilliance. Many have credits on Broadway or long lists of regional merits, as evident in their enthusiastic performances. J. Harrison Gee’s portrayal of Lola, an utter star, is phenomenal in every sense. His voice is genuine and his presence is as enormous as his heels. Adam Kaplan as Charlie Price provided a soulful performance of his lost-and-searching character. The confusion of finding your passion that Charlie endures can be quite an awkward adventure, but Adam Kaplan embraces the traditional character with his own genuine spirit, moving the crowd in his raw solo performance of “Soul of a Man.” The supporting performers are exquisite in their own way as well, captivating the audience with the portrayal of authentic people. Tiffany Engen as Lauren and Aaron Walpole as Don, for example, share their characters with authenticity, shying away from no aspect of their true selves in their humor and mannerisms. Nothing about Kinky Boots appears false. The message of the show is real and the entire performance reflects that.
To illustrate the theme of acceptance, Kinky Boots showcases the many different colors of the many different souls in the world. The electric shine of Gregg Barnes’ costume design is spunky and beautifully coexists with the confidence of its wearers. Lola’s Angels, his fellow club dancers, rock their gorgeously made outfits as they awe the audience with their unbelievable moves, credit to dignified choreographer Jerry Mitchell. All of Jerry Mitchell’s choreography choices prove that you can do anything in a heel. A dazzling conveyer belt performance is heart stopping and fearless.
Beyond just the flash of the costuming and choreography, the impact of Kinky Boots is completely awe-inspiring. The struggle of accepting the people of the world for who they are is explored with ease through action and example as the storyline continues to its conclusion, including eye-opening solos by our two main characters. Lola, Charlie, and their factory friends find themselves met with inner conflict as they look down upon the passions of others. People are met with this battle every day as they follow in the judgmental footsteps of society, especially in the recent popularity of clashing with the opinions of others. The story of Lola and Charlie’s influence on each other’s lives inspires everyone to put on their own sparkly, red heels and walk their own way. With style.

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