Brisbane: Why You NEED to See Kinky Boots

There have only been a few times in my life when I’ve found myself unable to get a piece of art out of my head.

The first was Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet, which I had pretty much on repeat on our VHS player from age 3 to 5. I know. Weird. I didn’t know what any of the words meant, but I was completely entranced with the music and the beauty and bawled my eyes out on each and every viewing. (As a side note, I cannot watch it to this day without sobbing, much to my kids’ amusement).

The second was Edward Scissorhands. At twelve years of age I fell head over heels in love with Edward and must emphasise here that prior to this I had absolutely no idea who Johnny Depp was. I mean, I’d read his name in magazines in relation to some teen cop show, but he hadn’t captured my attention. But Edward, with all his innocence and pathos and outsider-ness, just killed me. I went and saw it three times at the movies and began crying during the opening credits. (I realise by writing this I’m sounding slightly off-kilter. Guilty as charged.) The second it was released on video I hired it as often as Mum would allow ā€“ it being a pricey over-nighter and all ā€“ and basically sat myself in the loungeroom and pressed PLAY/REWIND/PLAY over and over. I think my record was watching it nine times in one day. #healthy

Which brings me to the present.

Last week a mate of mine Matthew Carey sent me a text, asking if I’d like to come to the final dress rehearsal of Kinky Boots. He’s playing piano for them, being the musical genius that he is, and I jumped at the chance. I knew nothing about it other than that it was written my Cindy Lauper and had something to do with boots and drag queens. Cue me grinning like an idiot in a trance for two and a half hours, gasping and smiling and crying and doing all but rubbing my eyes in disbelief. By the end I’d fallen absolutely head over heels in love with a drag queen. HOW?!

I’d like to point out that if I can draw a common link between these three, it’s the impact of their music. As a teenager who never spent a cent on CDs (with the exception of Kylie’s Kylie Collection, because come on, it was 80’s Kylie), I surprised myself by IMPORTING THE DANNY ELFMAN SOUNDTRACK TO EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. I proceeded to put it on repeat for the next seven years.

Since that fateful dress rehearsal, I have:

a) had the soundtrack on repeat at home, thus brainwashing the entire family into humming it around the house, much to my delight;

b) returned to see it with my 13-year-old son, adamant that as a budding actor himself, he needed to see the impact of such a committed and energetic performance and the power it has to move people;

c) stalked all things Kinky Boots online.

It’s incredibly moving without being preachy. It’s fluffy bubblegum without being shallow. It’s stunningly over-the-top visually and musically without being grotesque.

GODDAMN I AM OBSESSED.

And I cannot possibly understand how any Lola could ever beat the magic that was Callum Francis. His charisma is unbelievable. In my Clown Doctor work, we talk about not just the need to bring it as a performer, but to really open your heart…to, in a way, express love for the person. I really don’t know how he did it, but Callum fully brought love to the audience. Such incredible generosity, I truly can’t do justice to him in words.

The second time around I found myself feeling nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the first time. I recall seeing Mama Mia in New York (not my first choice, but we got cheap tix) and it just felt like the cast were going through the motions…not that I could blame them, it must be incredibly difficult to keep it fresh when you’ve been performing it night after night for months if not years…but I was so blown away by how even months later after performing Kinky Boots, the cast just brought it 110%. Maybe I’m overblowing it, but as an audience member I just felt so…respected, appreciated and not taken for granted. Like they really got that we had invested the time, money and effort in coming along and they took that seriously and shared as much joy and passion with us as they could muster.

Anyway, I could gush and gush and gush about this show forever and indeed, I intend to privately, until which point my partner can take no more and deletes Spotify and issues me with a timeslot when I may spill out Kinky Boots related thoughts uncensored, after which time I must be silenced.

I’m not being paid to write this, nor am I being showered in tickets (though KB producers if you happen to stumble upon this and wish to do so, I can unequivocally say that if I could come to each and every show for the rest of the season GODDAMN I WOULD DO IT.) But take it from me, if you only see one show in the rest of your lifetime, make it this one. Note: don’t even come to another show of mine ever if that’s your choice. Just make it to Kinky Boots. It is that good.

And given the current climate in Australia, I cannot say it better than this:

Thank you ever so much to the people who’ve made this show happen and have brought it to share it with us here in Brisbane.

You are all unbefreakinglievable and I’ll be forever grateful and #obsessed.

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Jenny Wynter Written by:

Iā€™m a comedian, cabaret performer, improviser, writer, Clown Doctor and mother of three. In other words, I divide my life between strutting around onstage like the egomaniac I am, dolled up and trying to win the love of complete strangers and wrangling kidlets.

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