Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

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A real-life story being told through a musical isn’t one to get my heart filled with joy, especially as I was recently disappointed by a similar concept, however, we all know Carole King’s music and I reckon most of us know her story in general as it’s been on TV many times in our lifetime – so what could go wrong? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Such an enjoyable performance!

I must re-phrase the above: we all ‘think’ we know her music and songs, but by golly Carole and Gerry wrote far, far more popular tracks than I thought. They wrote so many tracks that were hits for so many people. We also ‘think’ we know her story in general, again as this musical is based on the book of her life it added a real deeper level to the storyline, which made it very interesting and watchable. Far more elements to her life that I didn’t know about. 

Obviously, there was not enough time in a theatre production to play all her tracks however the ones that were chosen were perfect for telling her story. They fitted in at the right time and allowed the story to flow at a good pace for the audience to be totally engaged.

The story and the songs showed how the elements in her life inspired the tracks, so you have tracks you are familiar with having a deeper understanding for you as you understood the meaning, or the pain, or the happiness behind them. It made such a difference and will forever be with me when I hear the tracks –I’m off to Amazon to buy a back catalogue.  

I loved the way the beginning of the track was introduced and it smoothly transitioned to the performance of the Group/Artist who took it to the charts – it really made it fun. There were funny elements to her story too which had the audience with a few giggles and there was some sadness which I could feel the audience were touched by the performances. 

The set design was creative, yet simple and gave the diversity to allow many scenes. The moving furniture helped the quick scene changes and stopped the actors doubling up as stage hands. The sets & props allowed the passage of time to be apparent without needing clumsy clues.

The cast were all superb playing a variety of different characters, except the main 6 who were just excellent, engaging, professional, enigmatic, watchable. 

The actress playing Carole King, Bronté Barbé was enthralling and emotional to the point we as an audience believed it was Carole King on the stage. We were moved.

The ending was perfect and left you joyous and wanting more. Fortunately, after the applause, the cast treated us to a final song which sated us…only just, as I was really hoping they would do another track.

There are so many producers and high ranked people linked to, and involved with, this production, it’s no wonder it was fabulous.

The live band at the front were great and the right thing to do – if it were backing tacks it just would not have been the same. Surely some of the performers were playing their instruments….? If not, their acting skills were perfect!

The story flowed well, the performers were engaging and dynamic, the set and clothing realistic, the band brilliant, the acting and singing were top level which all came together to make a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining evening for all ages. 

This review first appeared on GrapevineLIVE

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