Touring – reviewed at the New Wimbledon Theatre
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is based on the life, trials and tribulations of singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner Carole King.
The story begins in 1950s Brooklyn, where a bright eyed and bushy tailed King goes to 1650 Broadway, New York City, to sell her song. Producer Don Kirshner buys the song and offers her a contract. From there, she meets Gerry Goffin, her soon-to-be husband, and they collaborate on a song. Their collaboration brings them hit after hit and soon enough they are a successful musical duo, with King writing the melodies and Goffin writing the lyrics.
Things are not always sunny, however, as Goffin and King divorce and the latter goes on to release her album Tapestry, which won her Grammy Awards and allowed her to play a sold-out concert at the Carnegie Hall.
Bronté Barbé gives an incredible performance as King. She captures her perfectly, from her mannerisms to the recognisable voice. Barbé astounds from the beginning, right through to the very end, giving a performance that must be extremely hard to match night after night.
Gerry Goffin, played by Kane Oliver Parry, is a lovable character who makes some big mistakes. Kane plays him brilliantly with astounding vocals.
Honorable mentions must go to Amy Ellen Richardson, Matthew Gonsalves and Adam Howden, who play Cynthia, Barry and Don respectively. These characters are some of the most important people in King’s story, and the portrayal of these characters is excellent.
Throughout this particular performance, there were unfortunately periods where the singing could not be heard over the volume of the band, which means some of the hits including the Loco Motion and Will You Love Me Tomorrow were not as spectacular as I had hoped. However, the singing that we could hear was extremely good, with harmonies that were marvellous.
The quick changes performed by the ensemble cast are mind-blowing, leaving the audience gasping as they effortlessly switch costumes within seconds.
The set, designed by Derek McLane, works well within the show. The simplicity of it and the continuous use of the piano allows the actors to truly transport us back to Brooklyn in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I particularly enjoyed the 1650 Broadway set, which served as various offices and performance rooms.
The entire ensemble give fantastic performances and the show is thoroughly enjoyable. I had high expectations, all of which were met for a fun-filled night out at the theatre.
Beautiful continues its UK tour into June, so grab your tickets for the final venues whilst you can!