Repeat visits to musicals that I have enjoyed are not unusual occurrences, but it isn’t often that I revisit one within just a few months. That is what happened with Kinky Boots though. You may recall that I had a very positive reaction to seeing it for the first time in Newcastle, last year. So much so that I had to check if there was another opportunity to see it on this tour, and there was, so I booked in for one of the dates in their week at the Leeds Grand. In the meantime I have been listening to the original West End cast recording a lot. I mean, a lot. I have been beavering away trying to get my doctoral thesis written up and it has been on repeat as I work. I am actually thinking of giving it a credit in my acknowledgements. It’s a good job that my study is in the attic so that the neighbours are spared me belting out History Of Wrong Guys and Soul Of A Man. And yes, I should be working on that right now, rather than rambling about musicals, but never mind.
One of the things I enjoy most about seeing repeat performances is that I get to appreciate things I didn’t notice first time around. Last time was my first experience of this musical full stop, apart from catching the odd performance on the Oliviers etc., so I was blown away by the spectacle and the gorgeous story. Looking back at my ramblings from that experience, I didn’t really mention the absolutely outstanding choreography, especially in Sex Is In The Heel and also Everybody Say Yeah. The way the factory conveyor belts are used in the latter is inspired and watching this time, I could appreciate the intricacy of it. Just like the Getting Married Today scene I highlighted in Company, one mis-step and it would all come crashing down, but the whole cast are just brilliant. I think I also appreciated this more as I was seeing it from above, in the dress circle, whereas I was in the stalls last time.
The other thing I love about repeat viewings is that I often go with a different person second time around, and get to see their reaction. Last time I went with my mum (who had already seen it in the West End without me – I know – how dare she?) and this time I was with J. He loved it. He has been singing Sex Is In The Heel ever since, which is keeping me entertained. Furthermore, it truly gladdened my heart to hear the pensioner man who was sat on the other side of me whooping along as the drag queens did their thing on the stage, and getting up to dance with us at the end. Just like in Newcastle, it was uplifting to have loads of different people all rooting for Lola and joining in with the final number.
The cast was almost the same as in Newcastle and Joel Harper-Jackson was again outstanding as Charlie. I got goosebumps when he did Soul Of A Man. Paula Lane was great as Lauren, with History Of Wrong Guys being as funny as it was before. But we had a new Lola. In fact we got the understudy Lola, Toyan Thomas-Browne. And he was utterly amazing. Charismatic and emotional and downright fabulous. I hope to see him taking the permanent lead in something very soon.
We’re now entering an intense period of ‘going to the theatre as much as possible because it is my 40th birthday year’ when a lot of the things I have booked are coming up in close proximity, so brace yourselves. Tonight I am taking my mum to see Michael Ball, which will hopefully go some way to making up for the fact that I went to see him playing Anatoly in Chess without her last year. Then I am presenting at a conference next week, where I will be basically summing up five years of hard work and research, so of course I am rewarding myself with a West End trip, with three performances booked next weekend. So I’ll be back on the blog very soon!