How Chris Mooney is preparing for his role as Lola in the Harrogate Operatic Players production of Kinky Boots

The curtain goes up on Harrogate Operatic Players when they reprise their performances of their hit show Kinky Boots later his month.

By Sue Wilkinson
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 11:17 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 11:19 am
Chris Mooney plays Lola  - the drag queen who helps rejuvenate a shoe factory - in Kinky Boots which is on at Harrogate Theatre in June
Chris Mooney plays Lola - the drag queen who helps rejuvenate a shoe factory - in Kinky Boots which is on at Harrogate Theatre in June

We catch up with the show’s ‘leading lady’ Lola played by Chris Mooney.

Lola is the drag queen who helps rejuvenate a shoe factory owned by Chris Price.

What motivated you to audition for the role of Lola?

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When originally watching the show, my immediate attraction was to the role of Charlie. I’d played drag roles before at university and wasn’t really sure that I wanted to try it again.

However, it was Lola/Simon’s songs that I slowly found myself singing as auditions grew closer. I also had seen the reactions Lola would get when the show toured and selfishly, wanted a bit of that for myself.

I can, hand on heart, say that it’s the performance I’m most proud of.

What has been the most challenging part of playing Lola?

Lola’s a high-maintenance girl! Make-up can take up to two hours for my make-up artist Samantha Sowerby to perfect. I also have so many costume changes throughout the show. I didn’t really get to put it all together until show week. I found that hard because I was questioning myself whether I’d look how I envisioned.

It’s hard to play a drag queen brimming with confidence when you have those sort of doubts.

What has helped you step into Lola’s character?

The boots. I have a pair of big platform red boots I wear for the first number that have been with me since the first workshops last year. Also, having such a talented and energetic group of Angels, the other drag queens that work at Lola’s club, really pushed me to perform the character to the best of my ability.

How do you prepare before you step onto the stage?

I rest my voice as much as I can, which can be hard being a secondary school teacher who has to work throughout the show run. I steam my voice a lot during show week.

The cast has a vocal warm up with our musical director before each performance, this is vital for us all to get our voices performance ready.

I have to eat enough to have the energy to perform but not too much that I’m going to feel bloated in my corset.

Mentally, I just try and sing little bits of my songs to give myself confidence that I can still hit the high notes and to also keep my voice warm before performing.

Which song is your favourite to perform in Kinky Boots and why?

That was one of the biggest changes from the auditions. Hold Me in Your Heart, Lola’s diva number near the end of the second act, was my favourite.

However, whenever I would sing Not My Father’s Son, which is sung at an emotionally poignant moment, I’d got such an overwhelming reaction from the cast that it changed my outlook on the song.

Why we should buy tickets for Kinky Boots?

The show has such an important message. It’s powerful, poignant and hilarious from start to finish.

It has the power to uplift an audience and have them leaving the theatre a little bit brighter and bolder than they entered, we know this from the comments from February.

Our audience loved it so much, we know so many are going to come a second time to see the June shows. We have made some changes, some new costumes etc so it should be bigger, brighter and better when we return.

Kinky Boots is on at Harrogate Theatre from Wednesday, June 22 to Saturday 25, daily at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Tickets: harrogatetheatre.co.uk or 01423 502116.