A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

REVIEW: Kinky Boots at Birmingham Hippodrome

Ladies, gentlemen and those who haven't quite decided yet! Kinky Boots has strutted onto the stage at Birmingham Hippodrome and if you have your tickets booked, get ready to fall in love with those who dare to be different in this truly remarkable show. 

It's always exciting when a show which has enjoyed huge success on Broadway and in the West End comes to Birmingham, and this was no exception. The production is packed full of fun, colour, true talent, raunchiness, sex and a downright brilliant selection of songs. 

The show follows a true story of men's shoe factory in Northampton, Price & Son. The business has been left to the manager's son, Charlie, who finds out shortly after starting his new life in London with his fiance, that his dad has passed away and that its his time to step up. He soon discovers though that the business is failing. But with thanks to a chance encounter with drag queen Lola, and with the help of team member Lauren, he finds a gap in the market for good quality, and attractive, kinky boots for drag queens. 

The production is so much more than it's story line though. With a strong focus on the relationship between father and son, and being true to who you really are, the story is an emotional journey of hope, friendship and passion, with a whole lot of fun thrown in.
The star of the show is of course, Lola, played by Kayi Ushe. As Lola, Kayi is larger than life, big, loud and irresistible. When Lola appears on the shop floor as Simon, in men's clothing, there is a hint of vulnerability, with the safety shell gone. But it is the scenes that Lola shares with narrow-minded Don, which really brought a lump to my throat. All Lola asks for from him is to accept others for who they are. Kayi is immensely talented, with the most incredible voice and stage presence, and completely made the show as wonderful as it is.  

Charlie, played by Joel Harper-Jackson, was a hugely lovable character, with so much charisma and charm. But what made him such a spectacular character was his extraordinary voice. He took on a variety of songs throughout the show, and sang them beautifully. Charlie and Lola were often joined on stage by the 'Angels', Lola's supporting act of amazing drag queens. They brought super fun routines to the stage, all choreographed with so much sass and sparkle that it was hard not to get up and join in with them!

The other stand out performances in the show came from Don, played by Demitri Lampra, who took on the role of the arrogant 'real man' but eventually accepts others for who they are, and Lauren, played by Paula Lane, also known as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street. Her ditsy but lovable take on Lauren, who can't help but fall head over heels for Charlie, was absolutely fantastic and she was incredibly funny.

The costumes were also so beautiful and creative, and the boots were VERY kinky! The songs in the musical were also incredibly catchy, with the right mix of emotional songs as well as sassy and stomp filled numbers. Personal favourites included the super raunchy Sex Is In The Heel and What A Woman Wants, as well as the emotional Not My Father's Son. 

The set itself was also very good, and transitioned easily between the factory in Northampton to a catwalk in Milan. The show is incredibly funny, and packed full of hilarious references and super fun moments. The whole ensemble are at the very top of their game in this production. 

This would normally be the part of a theatre review where I would discuss the moments I think need improvement. Kinky Boots requires absolutely no changes. Honestly! There is not even one second of this production that I would change. It is total perfection, and by far one of the best shows I have ever seen. It is moments like at the end of Kinky Boots, where the audience is clapping wildly to the cast who they have fallen madly in love with over two and a half hours, where I remember what theatre really is all about. It's diverse, it makes you think, it makes you laugh, cry, question society and what more we can do.
If you're looking for a show to really pick you up in these uncertain times, do yourself a favour! Get yourself a ticket to Kinky Boots. On at Birmingham Hippodrome until March 23. 

Kinky Boots: 10/10


Saturday, 2 March 2019

UK’s biggest alternative wedding fair to returns to Birmingham

The UK's biggest alternative wedding fair is set to return to Birmingham later this month. The Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza Alternative Wedding Fair, taking place at The Bond and Fazeley Studios in Digbeth on March 16 and 17, is now in its sixth year and is set to be bigger than ever, and will feature over 80 unique suppliers, giving alternative brides in the region the opportunity to meet everyone they need for their dream day. 

Event attendees can expect everything from vampire hearses, unicorn dresses, zombie gift dolls and even celebratory tattoos. 

The fair is a showcase for the very best of alternative wedding suppliers that are hand-picked for their creativity and unique services to help customers plan their dream alternative wedding day.

The show provides inspiration to alternative couples with an extraordinary colourful range of wedding dresses, shoes, stationery, accessories and jewellery that aim to reflect their personalities.
Visitors can expect to see exotic wedding gifts like stag heads and skulls next to fairy-tale wedding cakes inspired by unicorns and beautiful vintage bouquets embellished with buttons and brooches.

The rise of wedding bloggers and Instagram influencers are providing inspiration and ideas to couples who do not find the traditional church or registry wedding appealing or reflective of their personalities and interests.  

Jo Millburn highlights that “the growing influence of bloggers and social media has enabled brides to see what other couples are doing and helped them to realise that they don’t have to stick to a traditional sit-down meal and DJ for entertainment. A lot of people now want to inject their own personalities into their weddings”.

Wedding entertainment options in 2019 now include gaming consoles, karaoke machines, body piercing, harpists, magicians and vintage double decker buses complete with bars and wraparound marquees.

Jo Millburn said: “More couples are choosing to be married by celebrants rather than vicars and they create the day to suit themselves” 

“Handfasting ceremonies which are used in Pagan and Wiccan ceremonies are a specialty of ours and involve a couple binding their hands together during the ceremony when reciting their vows to symbolize their connection and devotion to each other. We also offer gothic, Norse and steampunk themed weddings too.”

A wide range of experts will also be on hand to give advice to couples on planning their wedding day entertainment and recording their wedding ceremony with specialist photographers and videographers.

There will also be opportunities chance for visitors to get expert advice, take part in craft workshops, enjoy street food and drink, have fun in the photo booths and gaming stations, plus a chance to win big prizes in the sheep treasure hunt competition.

The Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza Alternative Wedding Fair takes place at The Bond and Fazeley Studios, Digbeth on March 16 and 17. To find out more, head here

Fancy winning two FREE tickets to attend this event? I'm hosting a competition on my Instagram page! Head to my Instagram here now to enter. To be considered, all you have to do is like the post, and comment with the song title you would like as your first dance at your wedding. The winner will be announced on Saturday 9 March at 11am. Good luck!

Your two free tickets can be used on either the 16 March or the 17 March. Tickets are not valid for both days. Your tickets will be provided to you by the event organisers and you will receive them via email. This competition is on Instagram only - entries via Twitter and Facebook will not be considered. 

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