TODAY'S PAPER
24° Good Morning
24° Good Morning
NewsNew York

Theater Review: 'Kinky Boots' -- 2.5 stars

"Kinky Boots" by Cyndi Lauper Credit: "Kinky Boots," a musical by Cyndi Lauper

Kinky Boots
2.5 stars

At first glance, “Kinky Boots” would appear to contain all the ingredients of a hit musical, including being based on a sentimental 2005 British film, new songs by ’80s pop icon Cyndi Lauper, a book by Harvey Fierstein, a polished staging by director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell and plenty of drag queens strutting around the stage in colorful costumes.

The plot involves a hard-on-its-luck shoe factory in northern England, which has been owned by the same family for generations and will inevitably shutter unless its young owner, whose father just died, can revive it.

After being urged to consider a new niche market, he finds it among transvestite performers from London, who are in need of high-heeled boots that are better made. As the drag queen Lola explains in a knockout production number, the “Sex is in the Heel.”

So why does this musical, which looks and acts like a crowd-pleaser, still feel so unsatisfying? The biggest problem is that Lauper’s electric-pop songs are generic.

Furthermore, Jerry Mitchell’s production resembles a slick but uninspired rehash of all his earlier shows such as “The Full Monty” (the working class environment), “La Cage aux Folles” (flashy drag queens and Harvey Fierstein’s one-liners) and “Hairspray” (a spunky spirit).

But there is a saving grace to “Kinky Boots” and it’s Billy Porter, who imbues the role of Lola with fierce diva attitude in a Tony-worthy performance.

More news