Kinky Boots. The Musical. Movie Review + Live Show Comparison.

Although I’m a big fan of theatre I don’t tend to get the chance to see the biggest shows up in Aberdeen Scotland. Kinky Boots was one of those rare opportunities when it was announced as having a run in Aberdeen during its 2019 UK tour. I went in not with a huge idea of what to expect beyond hearing good things about it it and when the curtain came down after the finale it was in my top 10 favourite musicals. It’s everything that Everyone’s Talking  About Jamie wants to be but never quite achieves. Sharp writing, and infectious energy, great ensemble work and a few fantastic songs make it pretty much the perfect musical package. When it was announced after the tour concluded that they were going to theatrically release a recorded performance of the show during its West End run I obviously wanted to see it but was curious if they’d managed to translate the  energy of seeing it live.

This film is a pretty solid representation of a fantastic show. All the bones of greatness are still hear but as a fan you start to notice the choices that have been made that are not the most flattering. Some of the editing and shot choices give off the impression that you are watching a performance that has been optimised for filming rather than an authentic stage presentation that just happens to have been filmed (this is something the NT Live’s I’ve seen excel at.) The choice to only focus on and edit around the actors that are important at any one time cuts out a huge amount of the excellent ensemble work that I know is there  having seen the touring production. This is especially true for the big numbers like The Most Beautiful Thing in the World,Land of Lola and the finale Raise You up. I get what it’s trying to go for with the more cinematic look but most people that pay to see this will know that they’re not paying to see a film in the traditional sense. They are paying to see a recording of a live performance and there should be a certain level of adjusted expectations because of that.

Despite my complaints about the editing I had a good time and with no announcements about future productions of the show so as of yet it was just a great to see it again. That said if you saw this and enjoyed it I will highly recommend seeking out the show if it does another tour or is revived in the West End anytime soon.

Musical rating. 9.5/10

Film presentation rating. 8/10

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