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Kinky Boots

The Playhouse, Edinburgh
Four stars

It’s a man’s world alright in downtown Northampton, where Charlie Price has just inherited a family business he never asked for in Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s award-winning Broadway musical, which arrives in Edinburgh for the festive party season as part of its first UK tour.A trip to London to try and offload an excess of sensible shoes changes everything when Charlie accidentally bumps into Lola, a drag queen nightclub diva whose high heels can’t quite take the strain, and Price and Son becomes a very different business as Charlie’s ideals take a sassier turn.

With roots in a real life incident and a subsequent feature film, on one level Fierstein and Lauper’s leather-clad yarn is the latest stage musical rooted in a very British post-industrial fall-out and hot off a production line spearheaded by Brassed Off and Billy Elliot. Like them, Jerry Mitchell’s production is also about family, community and acceptance of those who may not fit in w…
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Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie – Noisemaker and The Snow Queen

When the eponymous ice-cold monarch in Dundee Rep’s seasonal production of The Snow steps up to the microphone, as played by Sophie Reid, she more resembles a pop princess than a lost queen. The song Reid belts out too leans more towards tweenage bubblegum euphoria picked up from Eurovision than anything more pompous. Elsewhere in Andrew Panton’s production, the numbers possess the multi-cultural spirit of Celtic-tinged indie-pop by way of folktronic Scandic chorales echoing from the fjords.
This vibrant musical reinvention of Hans Christian Andersen’s frosty folk tale is the work of writer and lyrics Scott Gilmour and composer Claire McKenzie. As Noisemaker, the Herald Angel winning duo are spearheading a new generation of musical theatre-makers at home and abroad, with international collaborations alongside theatres in America and elsewhere currently ongoing. For now, at least, it is the pair’s current self-penned Christmas show which concerns them most. A co-commission by Dundee Rep…

Valhalla

Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh
Three stars

The early days of a supposedly better nation are never easy. That’s certainly the case in Ronan Jennings’ new play, where, in a world where a bourgeois empress has just been killed and civil servants are lined up against the wall, apart from the revolution it’s another working day.

Harvey Fierstein – Kinky Boots

"Are ya’ ready for me?” asks Harvey Fierstein in his Brooklyn rasp, a voice familiar to several generations of theatre, film and TV watchers familiar with the New York born writer and actor’s turns in his early play, Torch Song Trilogy, to re-creating the role of Edna Turnblad, a part he won a Tony award for in the original Broadway musical adaptation of John Waters’ film. In-between, there have been guest slots in everything from The Simpsons to the more recent BoJack Horseman, while as a writer he won another Tony for La Cage Aux Folles, and has penned a stream of Broadway shows.

It’s snowing outside, and Fierstein is talking about the UK tour of Kinky Boots, his own adaptation of the very English film inspired by the true story of what happened when a struggling Northampton shoe factory branched out into making customised leather boots for drag queens. This is done through the figures of prodigal sons Charlie and Lola. As Charlie attempts to bring his father’s factory into the …