Touring – reviewed at Bristol Hippodrome
Guest reviewer: Isobelle Desbrow
Picture the scene, Carnegie Hall 1971. Carole King played by Bronte Barbe sitting at the piano not expecting this many people to be watching her before playing a short rendition of ‘So far Away’ before rewinding the story back 14 years to wear it all began.
We see the geeky, nervousness of Carole as she enters the offices of Donnie Kirshner played by Adam Howden. Something I’m unable to fault Bronte for is her ability to sing and speak in the difficult Brooklyn accent, something which as the play progresses we see change and morph into the Carol King voice we know and love today.
Once back at school she meets the popular Gerry Goffin played by Kane Oliver Parry, they quickly become writing partners, lovers and then parents. You couldn’t fault either of them as both show genuine affection for one another, something which did keep the storyline together.
Fast forward to the arrival of the loud-spoken Cynthia Weil who would not take no for an answer, mixed with the loud and seductive powers Amy Ellen Richardson lent to the part. She truly did a wonderful job and was one of the stand out actors on stage. Once she’d met the hypochondriac Barry Mann played by Matthew Gonsalves the pair become fascinating brilliant to watch playing off one another brilliantly!
The jukebox musical effect of the show really shines through as they include such artists as The Drifters, Shirelles, Little Eva, Janelle and The Righteous Brothers. The ensemble did a fantastic job creating all the songs, which really did do the time period justice.
The standing ovation at the end really did do the cast justice; as they had given a performance to remember.