Monday, July 3, 2017

'Kinky Boots' Theatre Review: Nyoy Volante Shines Brilliantly As A Drag Queen In A Musical About Just Being What We Want To Be & Accepting Each Other's Differences

 
‘KINKY BOOTS’ at the RCBC theatre in Makati is definitely the hottest current show in town. We saw it last Sunday and it’s a surefire crowd pleaser, making the audience give the cast a standing ovation during the encore. Based on a 2005 British film with the same title, the story concerns a young man, Charlie Price (Laurence Mossman), who learned his dad has died and he has inherited his dad’s shoe factory after he has moved to London to marry his longtime girlfriend.

The factory is about to go bankrupt but Charlie’s chance encounter with Lola (Nyoy Volante), a drag queen, inspires him to come up with a new niche market for kinky women’s boots that are made for men. This will eventually save the company from its financial doldrums. The show has a simple message: “Just be who you want to be”. It also fosters acceptance of each other’s uniqueness and differences.


The show’s songs written by Cyndi Lauper are not as catchy or hummable as those of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, or even Andrew Lloyd Webber. She does come up with serviceable pop tunes with some poignant moments, most notably in Lola’s “Hold Me in Your Heart” number, but it’s not really an outstandingly great musical theatre score.

Bobby Garcia definitely knows how to stage a musical number with maximum efficiency and this is seen in how he explores the two conflicting worlds of Lola and Charlie. And you can expect real spectacle whenever these two worlds come together. The choreography, which is embellished with cartwheels and splits, helps move the story on a very fast clip.

The cast is uniformly splendid. Newcomer Mossman manages to make his Charlie quite endearing, especially in his “Soul of a Man” highlight. Also making quite an impression is Yanah Laurel who steals some scenes as Lauren, a wacky factory worker who eventually becomes Charlie’s love interest. She certainly rules the stage when she sings her solo piece, “History of Wrong Guys”.

But the one who really runs away with the show
is Nyoy Volante who has the more flamboyant role as the drag queen Lola. His comic timing is perfect and his performance is just full of tiny moments of clever but finely calibrated nuances that always elicit such great response from the audience. From his first number, “Land of Lola”, to the ensemble production numbers like “Sex is in the Heel”, “Everybody Say Yeah” and “What a Woman Wants”, Nyoy just shines brilliantly through and through. For a great evening of theatre, don’t miss “Kinky Boots” that runs until the first weekend of July.




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