Manchester Palace Theatre – until 30 January 2017. Reviewed by Marcus Richardson
Beautiful is a musical about the legendary performer Carole King, who shaped and formed the music world with her music composing skills. Creating songs such as “Do The Locomotion” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, and later on in her career she made herself known as a performing artist winning many awards for her album ‘Tapestry’. The musical also found great success in its platform winning several Tony awards.
The cast were given a big task, to do the songs justice with the bar so high, as these legendary songs were so well received the actors had to measure themselves up. At points throughout the production we would see groups like The Drifters and The Shirelles perform their song, performing it as if it was their own song – which was absolutely outstanding.
The main cast which took upon most of the acting and stage time gave the characters life and made sure that they mirrored the actual people they were playing. Bronté Barbé who played King gave us this quirky character that we fell in love with from the beginning, right off the bat you could tell she knew the essence of Carole King. Gerry Goffin, Carole’s partner was definitely a hard character to play, because he was complex and troubled but James Oliver Parry made sure he didn’t villainise the name
The stage was a character of its own. With amazing stage craft where actors rarely had to move set and scenes flowed seamlessly with the actors and costumes were simple but cleaver making for some amazing displays of creativity of stage.
The show is touring across the UK and I would say no matter what your music taste is, this woman shaped it in some way. The show is an amazing tribute to the history of Carole King and captures the art and heart of the musician very well.