Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, Birmingham Hippodrome- review
It was a Tapestry of hit songs and standout performances as Beautiful – The Carole King musical opened at Birmingham Hippodrome last night.
Playing the role of Carole King herself was the fantastic Bronté Barbé, a finalist in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Over The Rainbow, who took the audience through the tale of King’s song writing partnership with Gerry Goffin, played by Kane Oliver Parry.
With the pair working at the world famous Brill Building, the show focused on the pair’s relationship as well as that with fellow song writing duo Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, played by Amy Ellen Richardson and Matthew Gonslaves.
Those familiar with King’s story will know that this partnership eventually breaks apart to see Carole King move to Los Angeles to pursue a solo career that resulted in the multi Grammy award winning album Tapestry.
Barbé did a wonderful job of channelling both the spirit and voice of King, especially when sitting at the piano and singing well known tracks such as Beautiful and It’s Too Late.
But what this show really focussed on were the timeless songs that King had written for other artists and the real life tales behind them such as Some Kind Of Wonderful, Will You Love Me Tomorrow and Up On The Roof.
At times the show fell into a routine of showing the development of a song around the piano and then showing the artist in question performing the finished product, however the strength of both the cast and the ensemble make this an enjoyable experience.
Aided by an effective stage set, the stage seamlessly switched from the front room of a New York house to on stage at the Carnegie Hall, telling the tale of King and her musical career. This also saw the audience becoming the literal audience at some of King’s performances such as Carnegie Hall as well as performances by The Drifters.
A jukebox musical to highlight some of the most timeless and well written songs ever produced; it’s hard for Beautiful to fail. And as the crowd gave a standing ovation it’s clear that the show is Some Kind Of Wonderful.
See the trailer here:
Runs until Saturday.