BEAUTIFUL – The Carole King Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is a stunning show following the life and journey of success of the singer-songwriter Carole King. It looks at the highs and lows of her journey and celebrates all the hit songs she gave to the world.  The show starts with an ambitious Carole aged just 16 looking to sell her first song and follows her marriage Gerry Goffin and their song writing success, showcasing such classics as The Loco-Motion and Take Good Care of My Baby.

Bronté Barbé as Carole King is truly incredible to watch, as Carole grows up Barbé’s performance blossoms into a spectacular tribute to the artist’s life. Barbé’s vocals in the show are so unique and powerful it does not fail to make a slight tear come to your eye.

One of the high-lights of the show was definitely the head-strong Cynthia Weil, played by Amy Ellen Richardson and the talented hypochondriac Barry Mann, played by Mathew Gonsalves. The relationship between these two is so beautiful portrayed, it almost feels as though the audience gets to know them better than Carole and Gerry (Kane Oliver Parry). This is a problem throughout the show, the audience never gets to know Carole, instead there is a romanticised version of her, that at some points almost feel contrived.

One of the strongest points of the show has got to be the outstanding performances from the ensemble who take on the task of recreating some of the most famous artists of the 60s, this brings a fresh energy to the show that people cannot help but smile at.

All of Carole’s biggest hits are included in the show, however sometimes it begins to feel less like a musical more just like a showcase of performances. Yet some of the songs feel forced into parts of the show just so they are included for fans of Carole.

Beautiful- The Carole King Musical will definitely please fans of Carole King, however musical theatre fans may come away feeling slightly cheated out of the drama that musicals usually provide.    ★★★☆☆    Georgina Randall   8th November 2017