BEAUTIFUL THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL – REVIEW
‘THIS SHOW IS DEFINITELY SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL’
‘BRONTE BARBE STARS AS CAROLE KING’
I attended press and opening night of Beautiful The Carole King Musical – but were happy days to be here again or would I still love it tomorrow? Excuse the puns but after seeing the show and the number of hit songs that are in it I could go on.
Well if you read my subtitle I was hugely impressed with this show that came to New Wimbledon Theatre last night and is here until Saturday. I have heard good reviews about the show previously but this was my first opportunity to attend and watch it.
So Carole King – the stage name she took on from the age of 16 is one of the most influential singer/songwriters of a generation. BEAUTIFUL is the untold story of Carole King’s journey from schoolgirl to superstar; from her relationship with husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, to her remarkable rise to stardom.
The show starts with Carole at Carnegie Hall after the huge success of her album Tapestry in 1971. After a short introduction about her not believing how many people have turned out for her, we roll back to a 16-year-old Carole King taking a trip to 1650 Broadway to sell a song that will changer her life.
We see Carole meet Gerry Goffin who is to become her writing partner, husband, and father to her children. Forming a formidable partnership they went onto write many successful songs of which topped the Billboard charts. But as we learn this wasn’t a happy relationship all the way through and we see Carole’s struggles with her husband’s infidelity and life choices. Paired with her close friendships with Cynthia Weill and Barry Mann we get to see a healthy rivalry when it came to songwriting and how both couples challenged each other when creating the next big hit. Through these two writing partnerships the show is then filled with hit after hit from both.
The first half is jam-packed with songs such as Some Kind Of Wonderful, Happy Days Are Here Again, Take Good Care Of My Baby, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up On The Roof, On Broadway and You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling some brilliantly played out by the ensemble cast as the bands or acts that made the song a hit including The Drifters, The Shirelles, Righteous Brothers and Little Eva. Having spent the early part of her career writing for others the first half reflected so.
The second focused more on Carole’s life and emergence into a solo career and it was here after hearing a taste in the first half of what Bronte Barbe who played Carole King was capable of with her voice, she came into her own and simply blew me away with her incredible voice. Barbe was mesmerising and powerful, singing with pure emotion you felt it in every song. Her portrayal of Carole King brilliant from a young naive 16 year old, to a songwriter, married woman and mother to a divorcee and back to a woman who took her future and made herself into the legend, she is today.
Of course to have such a performance Barbe showed she had a great connection with Kane Oliver Parry – and him with her. Playing Gerry Goffin the troubled lyricist who married young, never feeling complete he too gave a great performance and understanding. Being the other half of the successful pairing in the early years I totally believed in their love and struggles.
Amy Ellen Richardson and Matthew Gonsalves were another fantastic match. Just like their songs they were a hit with the audience. Matthew playing hypochondriac Barry Mann he brought humour as well as his talent as a songwriter. A great moment for him also was a solo performance of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place on the electric guitar. Amy who portrayed Cynthia Weil was pure gold and as full of energy throughout and to has a voice to be proud of!
The show carries a live orchestra which added to the beauty in the songs and effect around the theatre.
This show was a great portrayal of the life of a legend, one still going strong today. The cast all play their part especially the ensemble and the leads shine throughout. Bronte Barbe took this from what i was going to score four star to a five-star performance when she was left in her element in the second interval to fully show off her voice. Not since seeing Kara Lily Hayworth as Cilla Black have I been taken by such a voice.
Beautiful The Carole King Musical is currently on tour and is showing at New Wimbledon Theatre Until Saturday 26th May 2018.
Have one fine day and book your tickets for the show here