First Kinky Boots preview and last High Society night

WORTH A LOOK: ****/*****

WHEN: 21/8 and 22/8

WHERE: Adelphi Theatre and Old Vic

We had the pleasure of being in the front row for the closing night of High Society at the end of Kevin Spacey’s 11-year-run as artistic director of the Old Vic on Saturday night.

Spacey has made time to attend many of the closing nights of the 46 productions during his tenure and Saturday was no exception despite the Old Vic’s beloved Pit Bar, the venue for so many of those last night wrap parties, being closed for renovation.

We aren’t sure if any musical is going to be able to top the experience of sitting on an aisle in the front row for a production in the round where cast and scenery is whizzing past you at breakneck speed. To say the audience felt part of High Society, like guests at a wedding, would be to understate the case massively.

High Society has a great score and this production was a fitting finale to Spacey who had already been the subject of a gala celebration in April attended by many of the cast members of the productions which took place during those 11 years.

monstagigz will be reporting from an early preview of new artistic director Matthew Warchus’ first production Future Conditional starring comedian Rob Brydon 5/9.

On 21/8 we were in the audience for the first preview of a musical whose West End debut we have been looking forward to for years – Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre. Also there were Cyndi Lauper, who wrote the soundtrack, and producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

Matt Henry, who plays drag queen Lola, had the biggest shoes to fill – Billy Porter, who originated the role on Broadway of the drag queen who saves a Northampton shoe factory, won a best actor in a musical Tony. Henry doesn’t disappoint and it was a solid first preview but things will need to pick up at the beginning of the second act if it’s to repeat its Broadway success.

The crowd leapt to its feet to whoop its joy at the conclusion of Kinky Boots but during the early second half of High Society star Kate Fleetwood (who appears next in the title role of Medea at the Almedia) whipped up an unexpected standing ovation in response to an amazing Let’s Misbehave featuring the entire High Society cast. Something we’ve never seen in the theatre before: unforgettable.

The final standing ovation as Spacey crossed the stage quietly to join his cast backstage at the show’s close was evidence of just how much he has achieved and what a tough act he will be to follow.

7 comments

  1. sarahwild15 · August 24, 2015

    Quite agree that High Society was a vibrant production and full of energy. Far from being dated, as I predicted, it was laugh-out-loud funny. The songs were familiar, but the faces new (to me)! Being in the front row was a wonderful privilege, making the production feel genuinely interactive (without any of the fear caused by genuinely interaction); I felt part of the company to the extent that I expected to be handed a glass of Champagne during the party/wedding scenes. I hope the Old Vic continues to make the best of ‘the round’ and re-opens the Pit Bar swiftly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrmonstagigz · August 25, 2015

      The Pit Bar is being replaced by an ‘all day cafe imagined by the team behind Milk, Balham, and Fields, Clapham’, according to the Old Vic. No idea if that’s a good thing! Called Penny, it will open until 1am/2am Monday to Saturday.

      Like

  2. sarahwild15/ · August 25, 2015

    Who’s Penny? The cafe thing is fine as long as it still operates as a bar and opens late!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mrmonstagigz · August 26, 2015

    It looks like it will still be a bar (and cafe) and open late. It would appear to be very much Matthew Warchus’ thing. Everything crossed for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uno5UUGv-4s

    Like

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