Home » Opinion » Medium Rare » ‘Kinky’ is kinetic

‘Kinky’ is kinetic

By: Jullie Y. Daza

I know a number of people who love shoes (Imelda Marcos isn’t the only one), but boots? In our kind of weather?

Doesn’t matter. Everyone who has a pair of feet and a skin for feeling and conveying emotions will enjoy “Kinky Boots,” award-winning musical (Tony, Olivier, Grammy, it’s got them all) about a shoe factory threatened by closure until an unlikely hero/heroine shows up in the shape of a transvestite or cross-dresser or whatever you think he/she is. Lola, played by Nyoy Volante, is a scream! Singing, acting, hectoring, prancing about in his flashy red boots, he occupies centerstage even when he’s not onstage. And all along I thought he was gay!

“No, no, no!” exclaimed Bobby Barreiro, president of Atlantis Theatricals Entertainment Group, who could not be more emphatic. “He’s straight, and he’s married.” But after immersing himself in the role, “Nyoy has derived such satisfaction that he’s now a very confused man and waiting for a chance to talk to his wife.” Kidding or not, Bobby admitted that even if no one else could conceivably play Lola, Nyoy had to audition for the part just the same.

At turns hilarious and touching, as when he sings, “I’m not my father’s son,” the play underlines a timely theme: We are no longer M or F but also LGBTQ, and the message is: “Be whoever you want to be.” The pace coruscates. The lines, spoken or sung, are catchy: “Sex is in the heel” (describing the spine of steel in the stiletto) and “two and a half feet of tubular sex” (describing a knee-high boot), triggering memories of my shoemaker friends. Did they ever look at their products this way?

The musical’s fantastically styled boots are the creation of Raven Ong, who has traveled to New York, London, Prague learning and doing costume design, and manufactured by Wilson Shoes of Cubao, Quezon City.

When Atlantis bought the rights to bring “Kinky” to Manila, the fee covered only the script, the music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, nothing else. Stage and production design, lighting, choreography, “it’s all our own.” In the nine-man all-Pinoy band is the drummer from Hong Kong who planes in Friday and departs Monday. “That’s the kind of passion lived by our theater people,” said Bobby. Kinky Boots struts their stuff at CPR Theater, RCBC Plaza, weekends with matinees up to July 23.

comments