Side By Side

In an early scene of our show one of the characters excitedly announces “We’re moving to London, Charlie!”

At yesterday’s performance of our show (the day after the latest attack in London) I felt queasy as I heard the line.

Was it insensitive for us to launch into a performance that is partly set in the city that was still reeling in shock, without acknowledging what had occurred less than twenty four hours earlier?

But letting the piece speak for itself, I realised that the show is an excellent advocate and example of tolerance, understanding and acceptance. Charlie and Lola, the two lead characters of Kinky Boots appear as different as chalk and cheese when they first meet. Then they begin to work together and by virtue of their proximity they get to talking about their pasts, their dreams and their fears.

The differences between them fade away as we discover they share very human desires to honour their fathers whilst making their mark in their own shoes, so to speak. There’s no hero or villain in Kinky Boots, just two men trying to work out who they are and how to exist in the world.

There are numerous people who come to see the show and tell us “I’m going to reconsider how I think about people”. It’s great if the show helps people see that when we get to know each other there’s not as much to fear.

How you lead your life doesn’t need to threaten me. We can exist side by side. Together even. And if we don’t have to prove I’m right and you’re wrong, we can just stop fighting about it. Please?

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