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Matt Henry and Kinky Boots cinema screening: "To come back and do the show one more time was a real treat"

The WhatsOnStage Award-winner talks about bringing the musical to the silver screen this February

Matt Henry

On 4 and 9 February, Kinky Boots will return to the UK and Ireland. This time however, it will be screened in cinemas across the country, with Matt Henry and Killian Donnelly reuniting to play the leads of Lola and Charlie respectively.

It's been a long time coming for the cast, who filmed the show back in November 2018. We caught up with Henry – who won a WhatsOnStage Award for originating the role in the West End – to talk about putting those iconic boots back on one last time.


How does it feel finally getting the opportunity to see Kinky Boots on the silver screen?

It's crazy to think that we did it so long ago and then it's now finally coming to the UK. All those people who didn't get a chance to see it will get to – the legacy of Lola and Kinky Boots will live on! I was so happy to hear that the show closing in the West End wasn't the end and that it was going to continue on tour. I actually finally got to see it in my home town of Birmingham, which was amazing – I'd never seen the show before because I was in it! It was lovely to be able to sit in the audience and have as magical an evening as everyone says it is.

It must have been special to put on those iconic boots and step back into the role of Lola!

It's such an honour to have been asked to do this and it felt wonderful to do it with Killian. I decided to leave the show because I didn't want to stay too long and start not enjoying it. So when I hung up my boots I thought that was it – looking back I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Lola. You miss it – the songs, the costumes – so to come back and do the show one more time was a real treat, to put Lola back on for that short while and say goodbye properly, knowing that was the last time.


Was it familiar or did it take time to get back into the character of Lola?

It felt like I knew her instantly, everything came flooding back. When a role has given you so much, when it's stretched your range and talent and ability, it's always going to be with you. The show really speaks to people – it invites them in and has such a great message about just being who you want to be.

The cast of Kinky Boots
© Matt Crockett

What was the process of filming the show like, versus performing it as a live stage show?

The main difference was running the numbers continuously to get every angle and give so many options for the director – several takes of "Land of Lola" and "Sex Is In The Heel". But working with Jerry Mitchell felt like we were in safe hands. It's Jerry's baby – he can understand how it's going to look on screen as he's done lots of the Broadway filmed productions, so we felt very safe.


Have you seen any snippets of the film yet, previews or scenes before its general release?

I've been holding off seeing it beforehand – there were some showings in America in 2019, but I ignored the clips or the feedback because I wanted to watch it with the cast and crew, so I'm really excited about being in the room with everybody who created it to watch it together. Especially Killian – we started that journey together in 2015 and I'm looking forward to seeing me and him strutting it on the runway one more time!

Kinky Boots
© Kinky Boots The Musical

Have you got a favourite musical number from the show?

"Step One" – the amount of energy required by the guys running around and hitting those notes! It was wonderful in Birmingham to see "The History of Wrong Guys" and "Soul of a Man" too – I'd never got to see them because I was always getting changed in the wings and having more makeup applied.


Do you have a pair of the boots?

I do have a pair – mine are in my wardrobe, and I'm just moving house so I'm trying to find a new space for them!


You can see a list of participating venues and purchase tickets here

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