I went to a West End musical this afternoon. I hadn't been to a musical since Phantom and Les Miserables sometime in the 1980s, but a friend was keen to see Kinky Boots and asked me to go with her. I love the film and had introduced her to it, and she, though initially confused about why I was so warmly recommending a story about a failing shoe factory and transvestism, loved it as well and began recommending it to other people. Thus word of mouth proceeds. It is a wonderful film and I am shocked to think that it is now over a decade since it came out.
I wasn't at all sure that anybody could match Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is a truly magnetic screen presence. I couldn't see how you would convert the story into a musical, and I wasn't sure I liked musicals. But still. The worst thing that could happen was that I would not greatly enjoy Kinky Boots The Musical, in which case I would know not to go to any more musicals for another twenty years while garnering some brownie points for accompanying my friend, who very much wanted to go and needed somebody to go with. Better still, I might enjoy it, and best of all I might enjoy it very much indeed.
It was great. It was done with a great deal of panache, the song and dance routines worked with the dialogue, the set design was fluid and clever, and the music was pretty good with quite an eighties vibe. I see now that music and lyrics were written by Cyndi Lauper, which explains it. I enjoyed Kinky Boots greatly, as did my friend. And we had a nice lunch in one of the chain restaurants in Covent Garden first.
Only Network Rail were intent on spoiling our day out. I'd pushed for a matinee when we booked, because the trek back from the Strand to north east Essex starting at gone ten at night is so depressing. It suited my friend because then she didn't have to leave her dog alone all evening. When we got back to Liverpool Street things did not initially look too ominous, no swelling crowds on the concourse. But the 18.10 to Norwich was cancelled, while the departure of the 17.58 Ipswich train kept slipping later minute by minute without a platform being announced. We spotted a stopping train bound for Clacton and leaped on to it. The 18.12 left on time, but took two hours to get back to Colchester. The story on the local news just now didn't tell the half of it: the problem was not just stretched overhead wires and hot rails but a broken rail at Colchester that had entirely knocked out one of the tracks through the station. And I saw just now in the local paper that to compound everybody's misery, at 20.30 a tree fell on the line near Diss.