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Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Review

The Tony and Olivier award-winning musical, Beautiful, based on the life of Carole King comes to Northampton as part of it's UK tour.
Daisy Wood-Davis as Carole King. Photo by Helen Maybanks.

A biographical jukebox musical that tells of the rise of Carole King from an ordinary 16-year-old girl through heartbreak to the legend of the music business that she went on to become. Jukebox musicals can sometimes suffer where they try and fit in the musical numbers with the plot but with Beautiful, these numbers are central to everything that happens. As the songs are created it allows the audience to delve right into Carole's mind.

A nostalgic trip down memory lane for a large percentage of the audience from whom would have been around during the period the musical is set. Many of the references to Carole's contemporaries might be a little lost on me but there was enough to keep me engaged. Marc Bruni's performance is slick and moves along at a good pace.

The show is naturally blessed by the musical numbers which feature. Covering many of the hits of the day written by King ranging from 'One Fine Day', '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman', 'You've Got A Friend' and 'The Loco-Motion'. The off-stage orchestra under musical director Andrew Corcoran brings the numbers to life excellent across the performance.
The company of Beautiful. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Daisy Wood-Davis is outstanding as Carole King. She's believable and enchanting to watch. Add in her stunning vocal performance, which really comes to the fore in solo numbers. You are really watching a star at work.

Laura Baldwin is another performer that you feel like you're watching a star shine anytime she's on stage. She's a magnificent actress and singer and is wonderful as Cynthia Weil. Adam Gillan is great as Gerry Goffin, conveying the turmoil he felt effectively. Cameron Sharp is a really likeable actor to watch and does a fine job as Barry Mann. Oliver Boot brilliantly portrays Donnie Kirshner.

You could argue that the plot is a little thin but everything around it makes up for it especially the musical performances. It's a tremendous celebration of the great Carole King and her musical legacy. An uplifting toe-tapping delight for all ages not just to older ones.

Rating - ★★★★ a wonderful celebration of an outstanding musician delivered by a hugely talented cast.
Oliver Boot (Donnie Kirshner), Adam Gillan (Gerry Goffin), Daisy Wood-Davis (Carole King), Cameron Sharp (Barry Mann)  and Laura Baldwin (Cynthia Weil). Photo by Helen Maybanks.

Beautiful plays at the Derngate in Northampton till Saturday 8th February. Visit to book. It then continues to tour.

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