It's easy to forget just how many incredible, classic songs came out of that curly auburn head of the wonderful Carole King.
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? You've Got a Friend. I Feel The Earth Move. The Locomotion. You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman). The list is endless and frankly staggering. Which is why it's such a great treat to hear all her hits in one place, a feast of chart-topper after chart-topper, as Beautiful the musical pays hugely-deserved homage to this musical genius.
Jukebox musicals, in other settings, might seem to have had their day. But in Beautiful, there's some magic alchemy at play that just makes it work. Wonderfully.
We're transported back to the early days of Carole's song-writing career, as she tinkles out songs on her mother's piano (which offers a lovely chance to see one of favourite comedy actresses of the Seventies, Diane Keen, back on stage playing Carole's mother, Genie Klein). From here, and a chance meeting with lyricist and her future husband, Gerry Goffin, Carole's music takes off and it's not long before she's making the number one listing in Billboard magazine and getting millions of teenagers on their feet dancing around their bedrooms.
But as Carole's star rises and she releases classic after classic, it becomes far from plain sailing and some of her most soulful music starts to emerge from times of personal struggle.
Beautiful is a high-octane, sleek and stylish show that brings the Sixties, and all the excitement of the changing music scene, to bright, dazzling life.
Not many people could take on the role on Carole, not least in the year the UK eagerly awaits the real Carole's performance of Tapestry in Hyde Park this summer, but Cassidy Janson does a phenomenal job. Her showstopping vocals, with just a hint of country twang, shows Carole's music at its most beautiful, as well as quietly reinventing some of her classic songs in a new, often quieter style. One Fine Day towards the end of the first act becomes a bitter, emotional ballad you can't help but feel moved by.
There's also spectacular (and sometimes very funny) cameos from the likes of The Drifrers, Neil Sedaka, The Shirelles and The Righteous Brothers as the show paints a portrait of all the fun of the swinging Sixties.
A show of great heart with songs you'll have stuck in your head for weeks, Beautiful The Carole King musical is a real gem of the West End I hope will draw audiences and standing ovations for many years to come.
- Beautiful is playing at the Aldwych Theatre, London
- Why not make a trip of it? Superbreak trips to Beautiful the Musical are available from £193.50 per person based on one night at the 4* Cavendish London Hotel including breakfast and top price evening tickets to Beautiful – The Carol King Musical. Valid for arrival on 15th July 2016. You can book online at www.superbreak.com or by calling 0800 042 0288
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