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Beautiful - The Carole King Musical at Milton Keynes Theatre

Published by: Louise Winter on 22nd Feb 2018 | View all blogs by Louise Winter

Reviewed by Louise Winter 20th February 2018Tour poster Carole King

This musical takes us from King's teenage years, around 1958, to the release of the 'Tapestry' album and her subsequent performance at Carnegie Hall in 1971. It's a short period of her life under the lens here but goodness did she pack in a hell of a lot!

King really was a gifted young woman with an incredible talent for songwriting. She knew she had something to share and when she was sixteen recorded 'The Right Girl' to showcase her talents to prospective labels. Falling for Gerry Goffin and marrying him in 1959 meant these two brilliant writers formed a personal and professional partnerhship. Taken on by the impresario Donnie Kirshner at the Brill Building they became part of his songwriting business and together wrote for The Shirelles, (Will You Love Me Tomorrow), Bobby Vee, (Take Good Care of My Baby) Little Eva, (The Locomotion), The Drifters (Up on the Roof), and The Monkees (Pleasant Valley Sunday). Others who recorded Kings music are The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and the list goes on. As a solo artist she has recorded 25 solo albums; Tapestry, the first, was at number one for 15 weeks in the US, sold over 25 million copies and remained in the charts for six years.

This show depicts what must have been a hugely exciting time professionally and doesn't shrink from the drama of her personal life with Goffin and his infedilities and mental health issues. King had two children with Goffin and despite divorcing him in the late sixties continued to work with him intermittently over the years. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Working in the Brill Building at the same time as King and Goffin were Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. The friendship and 'competetive' drive of the two couples is a central theme to the storyline.

Carole King Weil and Mann

Image copyright Graig Sugden

Bronté Barbé as King has a cracking voice when she really lets go but is a little shrill and fast with her dialogue at times. Kane Oliver Parry as Goffin is a good match for Barbé and they work well on stage together. Amy Ellen Richardson as songwriter Cynthia Weil is wonderful and her relationship with Barry Mann (Matthew Consalves) is a source of much of the humour; they have the best lines among some very funny ones throughout. Weil and Mann had some major hits too with 'On Broadway', 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling', 'We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place', which all feature in the show

Carole King Craig Sugden

image copyright Craig Sugden 

Centre to this show is song after song after song, performed by a very energetic ensemble moving the story on dynamically. They have numerous parts and are chopping and changing characters  throughout. Strong of voice and exuding confidence, they bounce on and off the stage as The Drifters, The Shirelles, The Righteous Brothers. 

A really good evening out with a crowd pleasing playlist and a high energy cast who are committed making this a show well worth seeing.

Plays MK Theatre until Saturday 24th Feb and then continuing on tour

Tickets from 

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/beautiful-the-carole-king-musical/milton-keynes-theatre/

Box office 0844 871 7653 Booking fee applies

Comments

1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 months ago
    Thanks for this thoughtful review
    , Louise
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