Home coming for Kinky Boots as we go behind the scenes on rehearsals ahead of Northampton date

Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots

You might not believe me when you read this but you have an advantage.

For Kinky Boots will have opened at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate by the time you glance at this page.

Joel Harper-Jackson as Charlie Price.

Joel Harper-Jackson as Charlie Price.

However, let me take you back in time to just over a week ago and I’m visiting the theatre and getting a sneak preview of the show before it goes out on tour as well as chatting to a couple of the people involved in the musical.

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son.

With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

It is safe to say that there is a sense of homecoming for the cast and crew working on the show.

Joel Harper-Jackson and Callum Francis

Joel Harper-Jackson and Callum Francis

Associate director Dominic Shaw said: “It feels wonderful to be here in Northampton which is where it all started.

“The front curtain which we see at the start of the show is almost entirely the factory created on the stage.

“It just feels like we are in the place where this show was meant to be.”

However, there are challenges that everyone has and that is to get the highly anticpated show right for the audiences.

Callum Francis, who will play Lola in the show, said: “A lot of the cast have been working hard on the accent which is really difficult. Joel, who plays Charlie is really good at it. Thankfully, Lola is from London so I don’t have to do the accent. I think it’ll be interesting because it is a story about the people who work in factories in Northampton. We have to bear in mind that the audience will be the people we are portraying.

“But we have been made to feel so welcome by everyone in the town and you can’t move without seeing something related to Kinky Boots.”

But beneath all the glitz, glamour and drag both Dominic and Callum pick surprising moments in the show.

Dominic said: “For me, the best moment in the show is at the end when in Milan, the character of Don comes on in the stilettos. And for me, that is a sign that character has changed and gone on this journey of acceptance, which is very important in the show.”

Callum added: “For me it is the song Not My Father’s Son, which surprises people when I say it because it is one of the quieter moments of the show but it is a great song and gives the character a lot of depth.”

While Callum might have said that he hasn’t got the accent to contend with, it is everything else which is a huge challenge.

He said: “The voice is a real technical challenge and then singing and dancing with that all. Then putting on six inch heels. They are as comfortable as they can be because they are made for us, but they are still an absolute killer.

“However I have described her as my spirit animal. It is also a character which in its own way, gets to change the world. As a small boy growing up in Manchester, I never thought I would be in position to make a difference to the world.”

Having been treated to a 15 minute bit of the rehearsal including the songs Land of Lola and Step One, it seems like this musical is going and seeing how well the cast and songs are being performed already, I suspect audiences will be in for a treat. But then you might know that already.

It is on until Saturday, October 6.

Pictures by Helen Maybanks are of the touring cast of the show during rehearsals.

Tickets can be booked by calling 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk