About a year and a half ago Jonny surprised me with tickets to go and see Beautiful, the Carole King Musical in London. He knew I was missing ‘home’ (we’d JUST left the capital for Norfolk) and he knows Carole is one of my favourite artists ever. It was a bold, yet uncharacteristic move which earned him many, many brownie points. This sort of behaviour was unprecedented, had never happened before and hasn’t happened since but it was such a lovely thing to do and we had the most fun weekend in town just us – it’s one I will remember forever.
And the musical absolutely and well and truly exceeded all my expectations. I had worried about whether I could enjoy the songs sung by anyone but CK herself and I also thought perhaps the story might be a little dull. I had no idea what her tale was and just a vague notion of who she had been married to and written songs with. It didn’t seem ike it could be that exciting but… I was SO wrong! On every single level!
I left that theatre wondering how the actress playing Carole King could ever go about being a normal human being and how she didn’t just LIVE full time as her because she was, if this is possible, perhaps even more Carole than Carole! Ok, maybe that was taking it to the next level but she was SO good and the story. WOW! What a story. It made me understand her songs more, love them even more and want to play the Tapestry album (which I have on vinal, it sounds so much better on vinal) on repeat not to mention finding a need to rush out and buy an A line denim skirt and 70s style clog sandals. I literally LOVED everything there was to love about this musical and short of going back in time and seeing the real CK play a concert it was the very next best thing. Jonny too is a fan and he loved it as much as I did… It really is something very special!
So… When I was invited to see the musical again now that it’s on tour and hitting the Theatre Royal in Norwich this week I absolutely didn’t need to be asked twice. Going on my past experience I probably should have taken Jonny but he gallantly gave his ticket to my Mum who has also been champing at the bit to see the show and we have literally been looking forward to going ever since the invite hit my inbox. I had a threefold of concerns about seeing the show again…
- Would the baby come and scupper my chance at seeing the show again?! Well done baby, you managed to stay put!
- Could the new tour actress compete with the original cast Carole King? Urrrr, absolutely, she turned out to be IMMENSE!
- Would I love the show now it was outside the confines and excitement of the west end just as much in little old Norwich?! Oh my goodness absolutely! Isn’t it wonderful that such amazing shows can pick up and tour around the country so that more people will get the chance to see them?!
This is what I said about the show when I saw it in London:
I have never, ever seen anything like it and I’ve been to see A LOT of theatre! The story, the other acts… Everything about this show is pure perfection. I came away wondering only one thing: Whatever is the girl playing Carole King going to do with her life because she’s SO talented that she can’t possibly just play Carole King for the rest of it, but without her surely this amazing show would fold? I couldn’t believe how brilliant she is!
And now this show IS indeed without the oroginal CK as I mentioned but i can 100% hand on heart say it is no less rich for the new actress and in no way about to fold – oh far from it!
Bronte Barbe is simply stunning in her role, it’s SO her role now, and the ensemble cast does the story proudly too!
Long before she was Carole King, the chart-topping music legend, she was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent.
Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.
Along the way, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation, with countless classics such as (You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman, Take Good Care of my Baby, You’ve Got a Friend,So Far Away, It Might As Well Rain Until September, Up on the Roof,and Locomotion.
Every single hit is included in the show, you will be singing, dancing, standing at the end and clapping like you’ve never clapped before! THIS is a show for Carole King fans, for children, for women, for men, for EVERYONE! This is a show that I defy anyone to walk out of and not rush to find Carole King’s ‘best of’ (the Tapestry album if you as me) immediately and play it over and over until they fall asleep to her dreamy voice. I LOVED it and BRAVO Norwich Theatre Royal for having yet ANOTHER amazing billing! Who needs London when you have Norwich?!
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is playing at Norwich Theatre Royal from Tuesday the 3rd of October until Saturday the 7th with evening performances at 7.30pm daily and matinee showings at 2.30pm Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. This is an almost completely sold out show so get your tickets FAST and don’t miss out! Visit https://secure.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk/ or call (01603) 63 00 00 for box office ticket sales. For more information on the UK and Ireland tour please see http://beautifulmusical.co.uk/.
Disclosure: I was invited to see the show as a guest reviewer for the Theatre Royal Norwich.