Directed by Julian Jarrold, starring Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sarah Jane Potts, Linda Bassett and Nick Frost.

When his father dies suddenly, Charlie Price (Edgerton) has to abandon plans of moving to London with his girlfriend to pursue a marketing career and stay in Northampton to oversee the family shoe factory. What Charlie doesn't realise is that he doesn't have to run it - he has to save it.

Price and Sons has failed to keep up with the times and now there are hundreds of surplus pairs of brogues, increased competition from low price and low quality rivals and dozens of staff facing the sack. It all looks like a hopeless cause until Charlie meets Lola (Ejiofor) on a business trip to London.

Twice Charlie's height and width, Lola runs and is the star of a drag cabaret in Soho and when Joe sees the diva and pals teetering on high heels he has his eureka moment: ditch the brogues and start making shoes exclusively for transvestites.

Men dressed up as women ceased to be 'hilarious' around the same time as the introduction of the video recorder, but 'Kinky Boots' has a bit more to it than the usual cross-dressing caper. Inspired by a true story, the film gets the balance between humour and poignancy just right, never playing things solely for laughs or cranking up the diva drama too much.

While the script is no world beater, what brings it alive are Edgerton and, in particular, Ejiofor. Having shown his range in such films as 'Dirty Pretty Things', 'Serenity' and 'Four Brothers', Ejiofor gives one of those 'next step up' performances, bringing toughness and tenderness to the role of Lola and avoiding the huge overacting pitfall at the centre of the role. Edgerton meanwhile, is the perfect foil as Charlie, his put upon look of sheer panic showing he's less comfortable in himself than his burlier and braver business partner, while his debut on the catwalk towards the close is one of the film's biggest treats.

Like 'Calendar Girls' and 'The Full Monty' before it, 'Kinky Boots' deserves to be one of those unlikely success stories. You probably won't be counting down the days until its release on DVD, but buying an Eartha Kitt album is a distinct possibility.

Harry Guerin