On 13th August this year Price and Son opened its doors for its first shift with new workers. To celebrate the shows 1st birthday, on Thursday 8th September, they hosted a press night to welcome the new cast.
First to start their shift is Don (Alan Mehdizadeh) instructing the audience to turn off their phones. Mehdizadeh took on the role perfectly and shows real development of the character throughout the show as he learns to accept Lola (and Charlie) for who he is.
The hands of the factory are now left to David Hunter (Charlie Price). Hunter brings a new approach to the character, a loveable rouge. Hunter’s Charlie is very excited at the prospect of his new life in London, with Fiancé Nicola (Cordelia Farnworth), his passion to abandon the family business is soon thrown into turmal with the passing of his father and suddenly we see Hunter’s passion and excitement focusing on saving the family legacy. As Charlie takes over the reigns of the factory, worker Lauren (Elena Skye), begins to see a different side to him. Skye has great comical timing and during her solo number, History Of Wrong Guys, is able to show her incredible vocal ability as well. Her bashful approach to the character shows another side to Lauren. Hunter needs some work on the pace in which he is delivering his lines, especially in places where a pause is needed ‘who offered you a chance to make ….. Kinky Boots’, however the pair work brilliantly together and I’ve no doubt these little niggles will iron themselves out.
Female Factory workers Trish, Maggie, Marge and Gemma Louise are now played by Melissa Jacques, Charlotte Jeffery, Jane Milligan and (Original London Cast Swing) Emma Crossley. Chloe Hart remains in the role of Pat. Crossley, inparticular, is now a stand out as she is able to show off her beautiful voice when singing the Price and Son theme, after Mr Price’s passing. Jacques, Jeffery and Milligan have given new personalities to their parts and brought a fresh new feel to the factory. Milligan’s Milan Stage Manager being a particular hit with the audience!
Male factory workers Crispin (Harry), hooch, Simon Snr, Paddington/Richard Bailey and Mr Price continue to be played by original cast members Paul Ayres, Sean Needham, Robert Grose, Michael Vinsen and Alan Vicary with James Ballanger joining in the role of Mutt. The original cast members continue to maintain a faultless performance and keep the factory ticking over with no hiccups.
Matt Henry stole the show with his breath taking rendition of Hold Me In Your Heart and continues to strongly hold the show as flamboyant drag queen Lola, now accompanied with a gaggle of fresh faced Angels (Jemal Felix, George Grayson, Jon Reynolds, Ben Sell, Craig Thomas) and original cast Angel Philip Town. The new Angels are all showing excellent potential, however there are still some minor Choreography issues, which I’m sure will iron out over time. They are all enjoying developing their own character and putting their own little stamps on the parts. They have jel’d extremely well and work alongside each other perfectly. Grayson, who graduated from Laine Theatre Arts only this year, has stepped into “Splits Angel” position, his split are done with beautiful grace and he is really making his debut on the west end count! I can see big things in his future! Town, as the only original Angel to stay, rules the roost perfectly and continues to wow the audience with his flawless dancing and backflip!
Farnworth shows us a very different side to Nicola, than that of original cast member Amy Ross. Farnworth’s portrayal shows a more fierce side to the character, who is determined to achieve her dreams, with or without her childhood sweetheart. Her accent can slip in and out a little, however I’m sure this will settle.
New swings joining the cast are Suzie McAdam, Robin Mills, Simon-Anthony Rhoden and Jason Winter. The new additions join continuing swings Robert Jones, Catherine Millsom and Dominic Tribuzio. Due to the indisposition of Robert Grose since cast change, the role of Simon Snr has been played by new swing Simon. Jason Winter has played the role of Richard Bailey, Robin Mills has been on as Hooch and Suzie McAdam as Gemma Louise. All swings have taken this exciting opportunity to make the most of being part of an Olivier Award Winning show and the ones I have seen have been faultless.
I feel it is only right at this point to mention Original Cast Angel/2nd cover Lola, Arun Blair-Mangat, who, despite leaving the show on 13th August, stepped in to cover for Matt Henry whilst he took holiday from 31st August to 3rd September. Blair makes a beautiful Lola, his grace and elegance shine through the entire auditorium along with his mesmerising voice. He has made his own interpretation of the character and added personal tricks and quirks. During Hold Me In Your Heart it is as if Beyoncé herself has joined the show!
Catch Kinky Boots now at London’s Adelphi Theatre www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk now booking until May 2017!