the Arts Club’s Kinky Boots

The Art’s Club Theatre returns with an all-Canadian production of Kinky Boots, a true story written by Harvey Fierstein and based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots, written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, with words and music by Cyndi Lauper.

The story opens with a peek inside Price & Sons, a well-known Northern English footwear brand. With a former foothold in the industry, things aren’t going well lately, as seasonal stocks are continually returned to the warehouse by vendors no longer able to sell the shoes.

the Arts Club’s Kinky Boots

To make matters worse, Charlie Price (Sayer Roberts) learns of his father’s passing just as he’s moving into a London flat with his girlfriend Nicola (Jocelyn Gauthier).

Charlie needs to find a way to save the company and avoid firing his late father’s loyal staff, but isn’t sure how to go about it, until one of his employees, Lauren (Kelli Ogmundson), suggests creating a niche product that will make waves at the upcoming Milan fashion show and help them get back on track.

he Arts Club’s Kinky Boots

Charlie meets drag queen Lola (superbly played by Stewart Adam McKensy) one evening, notices his cheaply-made heels, and begins to realize that high-heeled boots for drag queens might just save the factory!

And so begins a new lease on life within the modest factory, albeit with little ups and downs along the way.

The Arts Club’s Kinky Boots

The dance numbers are wonderfully choreographed by Julia Tomaino; a seven-piece band led by Ken Cormier completes the picture.

Sayer-Roberts-and-Colleen-Winton
[Sayer Roberts, Colleen Winton]

The rustic two-story wooden factory set easily morphs into the local pub, and sliding panels change as scenes progress, all courtesy of set designer Pam Johnson. John Webber’s lighting wizardry helps to accentuate the set’s atmosphere while costume designer Barbara Clayden likely had a blast with the glitzy outfits worn by Lola’s drag queen mates.

Kelli-Ogmundson
[Kelli Ogmundson]

The cast work so well together, particularly with the dance sequences. Both Sayer Roberts and Stewart Adam McKensy have fantastic voices that shine during their numbers. “Sex Is in the Heel” gets the factory on its feet! It’s fun to watch Kelli Ogmundson fall for Charlie in her own awkward, yet sultry way on stage too.

One thing I did notice is that the Arts Club has done away with physical hard copy show programs, which is a shame, as it’s nice to be able to reference cast, crew and song numbers before and during the performance.

Jeffrey-Follis,-Joshua-Lalisan,-Stewart-Adam-McKensy,-Ryan-Maschke, Andrew-J.-Hampton
[Jeffrey Follis, Joshua Lalisan, Stewart Adam McKensy, Ryan Maschke, Andrew J. Hampton]

The show is a delight to watch as evidenced by the audience, who gave the cast a well deserved, rousing standing ovation on opening night.

Kinky Boots continues at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage through July 31.

Photos by Moonrider Productions.

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