CALLUM Francis gives a showstopping performance as cabaret performer and drag queen Lola in Kinky Boots at the Manchester Opera House.

Stealing every scene in which he features, Callum effortlessly combines style, charm and wit as the fearless Lola with superb vocals and dance steps.

With music by Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots tells of Charlie Price’s unlikely partnership with Lola to produce thigh-high boots in a last-ditch attempt to save the failing shoe factory he has inherited from his father.

The show is inspired by true events, and boasts a strong cast, most notably Joel Harper-Jackson as Charlie, who is struggling to emerge from his father’s shadow and under pressure from his fiancée to sell the factory.

However the night belongs to Lola and her Angels, the backing singers at the club where she is the star attraction, as they perform a number of colourful, brilliantly-choreographed numbers.

The musical is a celebration of being who are you, Charlie and Lola sharing the same desire to break free of their fathers’ expectations and follow their own paths in life.

The show’s strength is its feelgood factor, although it jars on occasions with the heavy-handed way it delivers its message about out-dated attitudes to gender.

In addition a number of the songs are excessively schmaltzy, their American tone striking a discordant note in a musical set in a Northampton shoe factory.

However these are minor gripes for an irresistible evening which produced a standing ovation from an audience which was in the mood for a great night, and was not disappointed, being swept away by the sheer exuberance of the show.

Kinky Boots is directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, and runs until Saturday, December 1.