Reviewed by Jayne and Alex Wiggins
This is not just a musical review of music written or produced by Carole King, this is a story of the artistic genius who is Carole King, how she came to be such a genius from her beginnings as a musical prodigy to a suburban wife and eventual star.
The audience is taken on a journey, but not a trip down memory lane for the sake of it kind of journey! This show is all about Carole who was to become King. A young daughter of divorced parents, a scholar who skipped two grades, Carole is introduced as the innocent, excited 16 year old, eager to find the world and take chances to make her mark in a busy world. She hits the world at a musical cross roads and explosion of genres and styles. With the black inspired music explosion in full swing and struggling to enter the mainstream industry, Carole King was able to capture the times and move her music along with clarity and intelligence.
The audience follows this journey as we watch the extremely talented Daisy Wood-Davis as Carole King. Daisy’s talent as an actress as well as a singer makes this show the story it is! With a healthy mix of innocence and strength, she shows a vulnerable young girl fall in love with the slightly older Gerry Goffin (played by Adam Gillian), a frustrated playwrite with mental health issues which become more apparent as the show progresses. The show does not shy away from tackling this issue and the associated life traumas affected by someone’s mental health. As Gerry admits to Carole that he IS going to commit adultary, the audience is brought into the dark world of mental health, its affects on family and how the music industry can be both a help and a hindrence in an issue modern audiences can truly relate to.
As the characters of Neil Sedaka, The Drifters and The Righteous Brothers take the the stage, the audience are taken on a journey through hits we all know and love as they have been released and re-released with success since their original writings. The comedy produced by throwing in these characters at different points in the show not only makes us jig along with the music, but also meant that my jaw hurt from smiling throughout this uplifting show.
As the story draws to a conclusion with Carole finally finding the strength to know she can not ‘fix’ her husband, we see her rise from demure back ground writer, to a star in her own right, who once again finds the excitement of taking a chance like she did as the innocent 16 year old. We are shown a success most modern audiences seldom see with our – have it all now – society. With our ‘X Factor’ approach to music now, it is hard to imagine a song writer/singer who could share the success we are introduced to in this show.
With a mixture of comedy, romance, tragedy, and success, this truly is a feel good show. If you don’t come away singing the songs and adding these to your playlist at home, were you even there?!?
Tickets cost from £11 (booking fees may apply).
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton from 4-8 February 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811.
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811