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Friday, 21 February 2020

REVIEW: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking

It’s hard to over-state the importance of Carole King on the music industry. Over a thousand artists have covered or released her songs from The Shirelles and The Drifters to Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin. As a solo artist King has had seven Top 10 albums and has recorded some of the most well-known songs in pop history. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical follows King (Daisy Wood-Davis) as she writes, falls in love and soars to great musical heights.

The overture starts and we tumble through some of the most iconic King masterpieces in a brash medley, ending with Wood-Davis sat at a grand piano centre stage about to preform to Carnegie Hall on 18th June 1971. The production then throws us back into the midst of 1950s America to watch Kings rise to stardom.

Wood-Davis is elegant in her portrayal of King; with wonderful vocals and a great portrayal of the southern twang that King is known for. Gerry Goffin is played brilliantly by Adam Gillian. With appropriate swagger he pulls off both the high-school jock and the budding playwright and lyricist with a voice to match that of Wood-Davis. His emotions sometimes seem to come from nowhere with some less nuanced choices than the other principal cast.

Monday, 20 January 2020

REVIEW: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Beautiful the musical starts its new national tour at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. Riding on the back of an Olivier award winning West End run. It’s a straightforward biographical juke box musical telling the little known story of Carole King who, with her partner/husband Gerry Goffin, wrote dozens of chart hits which have become the sound of popular music – Will You Love Me Tomorrow?, The Locomotion, Up on the Roof, You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman and heaps more. She then went on to become a star performer in her own right. Those coming late to the party may also know of her as the writer and performer of the theme tune to the TV series Gilmore Girls, in which she also appeared.

Although the juke box/biography form is used in a completely conventional way, what sets this show apart from others is the sheer quality, quantity and variety of songs written by King and her friends cum rivals Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (who wrote You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, the most played song of the 20th century).
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