Kinky Boots – Adelphi Theatre

Last night I saw Kinky Boots, down at the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand, so lucky to go twice to the theatre within one week. Kinky boots is based on a true story, about a shoe factory in Northampton that is going to go out of business and so finds it’s niche in the market- producing ‘kinky boots’ designed for the Drag Queens of the UK. A 6” Stiletto boot that can hold the weight of a fully-grown man.

There’s not much I can say, apart from it being a brilliant production, however I wouldn’t expect anything less from a west end show. This production has transferred from Broadway and won several Tony awards. It was just such a fun night; I really enjoyed the music and the plot. I just wanted to run up and perform with them. The costumes were amazing, as you can imagine from a musical about drag queens. Intricate and Fabulous. The acting was brilliant, Killian Donnelly embodied the slightly awkward, uptight, but loveable Charlie Price, with a boyish charm. Complimented nicely by Amy Lennox, who played Lauren, a female worker, who always seemed to go for the wrong guy, she portrayed an extremely relatable character, that I’m sure had all the females in the audience going ‘I feel you girl’. However, they were both overshadowed by Matt Henry, who played Lola, the sassy, flamboyant, downright amazing drag queen from London. Matt Henry’s amazing voice, combined with his outlandish acting, and the brilliant costumes made it truly an enjoyable evening. I loved the character Lola and I, as I’m sure a lot of other drama people, related to her. Her flamboyancy and how she acted like she was always on stage struck a nerve with me, and one day I can only hope to be half as fabulous as her. The most impressive feat of this production although has to be the fact the all of the cast spent part or even the whole two and half show, dancing and acting in 6” Kinky boots, which is extremely Impressive, especially with the level of dancing and lifts featured in the choreography. I can barely get picked up and put down, in wedges with out falling over.

The last thing about this that I want to say is that it reminded me that mainstream theatre, west end musicals mainly, which I hate say, I could be a snob about sometimes, I enjoyed them, but was always unsure of the substance that they possessed, that they are just as society changing as other types of theatre. They could be used in the same fashion as a tool. The message of the musical was to accept people for what they were, no matter where they were from, or what they did. And in a way, this is even better than genres like political theatre as it reaches a wider audience, and possibly a more varied audience; younger and older and from different parts of society; meaning it would be more effective as a tool to change our society. It also assured me of where I want to be in the future. It’s no secret, I have doubts about going into Theatre, and I am sure many other people pursuing that career have similar doubts, but this production reminded me that I need to do Theatre. That I love it, and productions like this is one of the reasons why I am going into drama.

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James III- Festival Theatre

Last night I got to see the third part of The James Plays, by Rona Munro. The James Plays is a trilogy of three separate plays, that can be watched in order, or as an individual play in itself. I saw James III, without seeing any of the other shows. They are about the first three James Kings of Scotland.

Now I don’t much about the history of the Scottish monarch, regardless, it was an extremely interesting piece of theatre, with political undertones reflecting the state of Scottish politics within the last few years – the referendum mainly. Showing what Scotland is really about, her people.

The audience were mainly seated below the stage in a traditional proscenium arch auditorium, however there was a small section for the audience to be seated at the back of the stage creating a semi- theatre in the round.  The audience seated on the stage completed the parliament of Scotland, with the throne in between the two sets of seats. It really involved  the audience into the piece and emphasised the idea that Scotland is about her people rather than anyone else.  About her citizens, the sort of people who go to the theatre, the civilians – they are the people who should be part of the parliament.

It had a playful tone, despite the political themes, which may strike a tender chord to some of the audience members, mainly provided by the comedic acting from Matthew Pidegeon, who played off the slightly nutty, reckless and extremely self absorbed King James very well. In a time of economic ruin, James is wistfully throwing away his money towards unnecessary  ‘pleasures’.  Marlin Crepin as Queen Margaret, however overshadowed King James, a tricky feat. A calm, but strong standing figure, turned stand in ruler of Scotland. Uniting the nation, and it’s people. Her acting standing out among the ensemble, bold, authoritative and powerful, and altogether just quite inspiring.

I loved the little touches, such as the traditional style music sung throughout the piece to bring it to a whole, along with the ceilidh-fied modern music played before and the performance and during the interval. It set a jolly and sort of communal atmosphere. Along with the set which was simplistic, but symbolic. The audience becoming part of the set, along with a large dagger sticking up off the stage. It was hard to miss, but really effective in it’s foreshadowing of the oncoming revolution by the future King Jamie. (Daniel Cahill)

All in all, I really liked this piece, in what it was trying to do. I really appreciated the political undertones and the community aspect of the whole piece, and I mean, it doesn’t hinder that Daniel Cahill got stark naked, albeit unexpected, on stage.