Carole King is a Grammy award winning singer/songwriter whose career has spanned more than 50 years! At 73 years old she is still going strong and about to release a new CD of greatest hits. This ties in nicely with the Broadway transfer of the musical ‘Beautiful’ which tells the story of her life and features her best known songs.
Beautiful the Musical is a great jukebox show. It has everything a good jukebox show should have. A well known artist’s back catalogue of songs, a safe (and easy to follow) storyline and one song that can never quite be woven into the tapestry of the show and so is performed at the curtain call instead (in this case I Feel The Earth Move).
Katie Brayben makes a great Carole King in this production. She looks like a 60’s free-spirit and sings like a dream, feeling every word that comes out of her mouth. Alan Morrissey is brilliant as husband Gerry Goffin. I wasn’t blown away by his performance in the X Factor musical I Can’t Sing but this goes to show that if given a great part, he knows exactly what to do with it. Lorna Want and Ian McIntosh are a great pairing as Carole and Gerry’s friends Cynthia and Barry. They all work well together and bring different things to the table.
Beautiful is a retrospective look back on Carole Kings early writing career and the hit songs she wrote for the music industry before finally branching out and starting to write and perform her own work. She has undoubtedly written some of the biggest hits ever written. Oh Carol, Take Good Care of My Baby, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up On The Roof, The Locomotion, It’s Too Late, You’ve Got A friend and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman are just a handful of songs all generations will know because of their continued success throughout history.
Whether or not Beautiful will entice the younger theatre-goers into the Aldwych Theatre remains to be seen, however the older crowd should keep the seats filled for a while. A far as juke box musical go, this one is pretty good.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo Credit Brinkhoff/Moegenburg