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BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, Bristol Hippodrome

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BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, Bristol Hippodrome BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, Bristol Hippodrome It would be really quite difficult to watch this musical and not leave with a smile on your face. Whether or not you're a big fan of Carole King's own singing career, you'll find great joy in the way that the range of pop songs from her songwriting era - which are peppered throughout - are performed so wonderfully.

The jukebox musical tells the story of the young Carole King, and how her writing led to her successful work as a performer. This popular show was first shown in San Francisco and Broadway before making its West End debut in 2015. This is the second tour of the show in the UK, this time with Daisy Wood-Davis in the title role of Carole King and Adam Gillian as her husband Gerry Goffin.

Together from their teenage years, King and Goffin wrote many popular and iconic songs from the 1960s. As such, the first act of the musical, whilst telling the fairly customary story of the early years of their marriage, also tells much about the development of the music scene at this time.

That being said, the show is as much about the songwriting duo of Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, played in this tour by Laura Baldwin and Cameron Sharp - though on this performance, Carly Cook was on as Cynthia Weil. She and Sharp had great chemistry as the couple, and the wittiest and most amusing aspects of the show were generally delivered by one or both of the duo. It's easy to see how the role would be suited to Baldwin, though Cook delivered the dry humour with ease and grace and was a joy to watch.

Wood-Davis, who is most known for her television work, is certainly up to scratch in the role of Carole King and is good at demonstrating the changing moods and maturity of King through her life and career. Although her American accent is a little forced at times, her singing is fun and, at the key moments, incredibly powerful.

Through the years, as we follow Carole's life through college, pregnancy, marriage and later the repeated affairs and breakdown of Goffin, the costumes and wigs are artfully changed to show the changing times. The hair especially is used to great effect to portray the different phases of her life. Sophie Peters as head of wigs has done a wonderful job - not just on the wigs of Wood-Davis, but on the other cast members too.

This is an upbeat and feel-good show with a well-written book by Douglas McGrath to showcase the songs of King/Goffin and Weil/Mann, as well as Carole King's solo work. There is certainly some artistic license taken with the historical accuracy, but the performances by The Drifters, The Shirelles, Little Eva and The Righteous Brothers are transitioned fabulously into the story, as well as being wonderfully choreographed by Josh Prince.

It is easy to relax and enjoy this musical, and it's well delivered by the touring cast and crew.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is showing at the Bristol Hippodrome through to 29 February.


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