Review: Kinky Boots – Edinburgh Playhouse

First published in The Times, Friday December 14 2018

Three Stars

The Tony award-winning musical Kinky Boots, with a book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by the pop star Cyndi Lauper, had an unusual genesis. The story of a failing Northampton shoe factory, whose owner switches production from brogues to good-quality footwear for drag queens, began life 20 years ago as an episode of the BBC documentary series Trouble at the Top, which depicted the trials and tribulations of business executives. A low-budget feature film passed under the radar in 2005. Continue reading “Review: Kinky Boots – Edinburgh Playhouse”

Review: Shrek the Musical – Edinburgh Playhouse

First published in The Times, Wednesday December 20 2017

Three Stars

It would be fair to say that stage musicals inspired by animated films have something of a chequered history. The experimental director and designer Julie Taymor gave Disney’s screen-to-stage version of The Lion King a truly theatrical treatment that still stands up 18 years on from its premiere. Other shows from the same stable, including lavish productions of Tarzan and The Little Mermaid, failed to exert the same grip on the public imagination.

Continue reading “Review: Shrek the Musical – Edinburgh Playhouse”

Review: Wonderland – Edinburgh Playhouse

First published in The Times, Friday January 27 2017

Two Stars

Downtrodden single mother Alice (Kerry Ellis) is having a bad day. Her car has been stolen, she’s lost her house keys and when she arrives late for work her heartless boss fires her. Topping it all off, her ex-husband, for whom she still holds a torch, has been in touch with news of his latest marriage.

 

Clearly, we are not in Lewis Carroll territory, although his iconic characters are nominally present and correct in this contemporary musical update of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, written by Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy, with music by Frank Wildhorn. Their version of Alice sports killer boots and drops into Wonderland, accompanied by her teenage daughter (Naomi Morris) and socially awkward neighbour (Stephen Webb), by way of the out-of-order lift in her dingy high-rise block.

Continue reading “Review: Wonderland – Edinburgh Playhouse”