Reviewed on Thursday 20th April 2017 by Sebastian Singh
Photo Credit: Getty Images- David M. Benett
Following the career and personal life of Carole King, the musical starts with a seventeen-year-old girl with extraordinary talents. Carole sells “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and this is her first hit; she continues writing and selling songs for acts such as Aretha Franklin, The Shirelles and The Drifters. It is only when her personal life begins to fall apart that she finds her true voice.
This wonderful jukebox musical contains music from Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. This includes songs such as: “On Broadway”, “The Loco-Motion”, “You’ve Got a Friend” and most notably “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”.
Marc Bruni’s direction ensures that the piece is slick and has energy throughout; coupled with Josh Prince’s choreography which is varied for each number but highly effective, this musical is something special. The music speaks for itself but the fantastic arrangements by Jason Howland gave it a vibrant sound that is perfect for the theatre. These songs sit so well in this venue and the audience loved it, giving a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the performance.
I thought Derek McLane’s scenic design was marvellous and very clever. The scenes moved seamlessly from the studio to their houses and the set filled the large space with colour and class. Congratulations must also go to other members of the creative team for the vast array of costumes and wigs that transport the audience back to the 60’s.
The lead role was performed by Cassidy Janson, who is simply divine! An incredible voice that hits every note, she does so much justice to Carole King’s story and music. Her voice lights up every song and her emotion in “Natural Woman” is raw and spellbinding. Matthew Seadon-Young nails his role as Gerry Goffin, Lorna Want is superb as Cynthia Weil and Ian McIntosh does a fantastic job in the role of Barry Mann. The rest of the cast are brilliant, each getting their moment to shine and they absolutely take it- an incredibly strong ensemble on show here!
My friend, Jessica Joslin, is a swing in the show and I luckily saw her perform tonight. For her West End debut show, she is outstanding; professional in every respect and has so much talent. It highlighted to me the importance of swings in these shows; Jessica covers four roles in the show when cast members are on holiday, or off due to illness or injury. To remember four different roles, which means differing lead and backing vocals as well as any dialogue and choreography, they are some of the most important people in our industry. When you watch a show, and see that an understudy or swing is on, please support them, as they are the upcoming talent who will be taking lead roles in the near future!
Beautiful is a tight knit show where every member of the cast is enjoying themselves and this is infectious to the audience. I left the show so happy and my heart was full of joy- get yourself a ticket for a fantastic evening at the theatre!
This production is currently booking until November 2017.