Updated: Tuesday, 20th March 2018 @ 2:45pm

Review: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

Review: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

| By Isobel Cotogni

The winner of two Olivier Awards, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical arrived in Manchester this week, with Macclesfield-born Bronté Barbé taking on the lead role at the Palace Theatre.

The plot concentrates on King’s early career as a gifted 16-year-old from Brooklyn combining young motherhood and marriage while producing hit after hit, to the new divorcee moving to Los Angeles and recording the phenomenally successful album Tapestry.

In two-and-a-half hours, 27 songs by King, her husband Gerry Goffin and their close friends Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, are showcased by a highly talented cast.

As King, Barbé initially struggled with the Brooklyn accent but her nerves gave way to a flawless performance which captured King’s touching naivety and gaucheness. She thoroughly deserved the standing ovation she received during this performance.

THROWBACK: The musical is all about the 60s

As her husband, Kane Oliver Parry portrayed Goffin’s talent and descent into mental illness with great skill.

Amy Ellen Richardson (Cynthia Weil) and Matthew Gonsalves (Barry Mann) were on top form as their friendly rivals, providing entertaining scenes and showing great comic timing.

The ensemble cast were also superb, with scenes involving The Drifters and The Shirelles drawing thunderous applause.

It is always difficult to fit in a long timescale (around twelve years) into a musical format. Some of the scenes admittedly felt a little rushed but this is a minor gripe. The dialogue was sparky, funny and at times, poignant.

APPLAUSE: Barbé deserves every bit of her standing ovation

King’s maturing talent is perfectly captured during the production. As the 1960s pass, she blossoms from the timid girl who would not sing in front of people to the woman belting out her hits at the Carnegie Hall in New York.

As she found the strength to finally leave the philandering Goffin, a crowd of women in the audience cheered in support. To see Barbé joyfully sing King’s solo hits such as It’s Too Late and Natural Woman is truly uplifting.

The costumes reflect the era beautifully, while the scenery is particularly effective. All in all it is the perfect escape from the wintry Mancunian weather and a truly entertaining evening.

*Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is showing at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until Saturday, January 6. You can buy tickets HERE.