BEAUTIFUL- THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL
GRAND THEATRE, LEEDS
Runs: 2h 30m, one interval, until Saturday 2 June Leeds and touring
Grand, Leeds 0844 848 2700
Review: Graham Clark, 28 05 18
Some great performances and a host of great songs
The show has been running for 2 years in the West End and is now on a national tour.
Yes, it is another jukebox musical and the first half did remind me of watching Dreamboats and Petticoates at times mainly because all the songs were from the 60’s although the catch here is that they were written by King with her partner Gerry Goffin who also became her lover.
Bronte Barbe is brilliant as Carole King – her voice does justice to the songs and she portrays her young innocence superbly. The point where she tells Gerry Goffin (Kane Oliver Parry) to leave her because of his womanising got one of the biggest cheers of the evening from the female members of the audience. “Good on you on” shouted out one supporter in the audience.
Amy Ellen Richardson as Cynthia Weil and co songwriter Barry Mann played by Matthew Gonsalves provided competition for the songwriting partnership of Goffin and King. The confident Cynthia Weil contrasted well with the more insular Carole King.
As well as the Goffin and King hits such as Will You Love Me Tomorrow performed in a cameo scene by The Shirelles and It Might As Well Rain Until September we also get to hear the hits of Mann and Weil such as You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling and We Gotta Get Out Of This Place with another cameo appearance this time by The Drifters as they sing On Broadway.
I never knew that Little Eva was King’s babysitter, of course we get Eva singing The Locomotion with the ensemble. Amazingly the two couples were responsible for so many hits in the early 1960’s.
The fashions and clothes change as the musical moves from the 60’s to the early 70’s, you only know that though with the music and the clothes, no dates are given anywhere or mentioned though the whole story covers a 14 year period.
As a fan of the Tapestry album the second half of the show was more relevant to me. King moves to Los Angeles to record the album with most of the popular songs being performed such as It’s Too Late and You’ve Got a Friend.
The show concludes with King in concert mode as she performs I Feel The Earth Move which gets a standing ovation.
At times it was a bit sugary and the fake American accents did grate at times but overall if you are a fan of Carole King you will not be disappointed.