Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

22nd - 27th April 2024

Before she was hit-maker Carole King she was Carole Klein, a spunky young songwriter from Brooklyn with a unique voice. From the chart-topping hits she wrote for the biggest acts in music to her own life-changing, trailblazing success with TapestryBeautiful takes you back to where it all began — and takes you on the ride of a lifetime.

Featuring such unforgettable classics as "You've Got a Friend", "One Fine Day", "So Far Away", "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", and "Natural Woman", this Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning musical phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember — and a story you'll never forget.

Production Officials

Director  Nora Howcroft
Musical Director  Cath Hilton
Choreographer  Lara Syddall

Cast

Carole KingCatherine Hall
Gerry GoffinJoshua Clayton-Heal
Cynthia WeilVicki Wilson
Barry MannJoe Connor
Donny KirschnerAlan Moss
Genie Klein Jo Whitaker
Betty Molly Hadfield
Lucille Kathryn Nuttall
Lou AdlerDavid Witt
Janelle WoodsOlivia O'Connell
Marilyn WaldZoe Pollitt
Little EvaEileen Reeves
Neil SedakaMichael Chesterfield
ShirellesOlivia O'Connell, Julie Ogden, Eileen Reeves
Company
Kate Ainsworth, Beverley Charlson, Michael Chesterfield, Sue Cliffe, Gill Clough, Molly Hadfield, David McGreavy, Hazel Noon, Olivia O'Connell, Julie Ogden, Zoe Pollitt, David Reeves, Eileen Reeves, Janet Richardson, Maria Sharrocks, David Witt

Photographs by Adrian Mottram

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Reviews & Articles

BATS

Carole King was the most successful female songwriter in the UK. Co-writing over 100 hits, both in the UK and US, her name is synonymous to many other writers of the time, and in collaboration with her first husband, Gerry Goffin, they proved that perseverance and pure hard work certainly pays off as they churned out one classic after another.

Douglas McGrath’s idea to turn this story into a musical is  genius. So many wonderful melodies, fascinating lyrics mixed with a be-bop style is the perfect recipe for a cracking nights entertainment – that is what Walmsley Church AODS delivered. A flawless opening night with standout performances, succinct musical direction by Cath Hilton, and fitting choreography by Lara Syddall, true to its time, Director Nora Howcroft has played a blinder in making  Beautiful, beautiful.

The 2-storey set, with central sliding door and first floor walkway, was used to great effect and with clever use of insets with a moveable piano made each scene believable.

The ensemble worked hard, as they wandered in and out with matching dresses bedecked with music notes and many wig changes, helping to bring the 60s to life. With a lack of male chorus, the female chorus did well in getting the male numbers over with great style.

Olivia O’Connell as Janelle Woods sang effortlessly and looked suitably glam as she led the Shirelles, Julie Ogden and Eileen Reeves who together made a great sound.

Alan Moss portrayed music producer Donny Kirschner effectively whilst Michael Chesterfield brought a comedy touch to his cameos bringing a smile to our faces.

Other cameos by Jo Whittaker, Molly Hadfield, Kathryn Nuttall and Zoe Pollitt were credible and added to the success of this production.

Those who know the story of Carole King will know of her somewhat turbulent marriage to Gerry Goffin and the professional friendship she had with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. These four characters are the lynch pin to this production and, oh my, are they in good hands!

Vicki Wilson exudes style as Cynthia Weil, developing in character, from wannabe lyricist to successful music professional. Vicki has a natural stage presence which was on display throughout. Her partner in crime, both professionally and personally was Joe Connor as Barry Mann. Seasoned performer, Joe was brilliant. He played it as an almost happy go lucky chap with a sensitive side, embroiled with a touch of comedy. This pairing worked really well.

As Carole’s husband and work partner, Gerry Goffin, Joshua Clayton-Heal was on form as he easily switched from doting husband to a man on the edge, Joshua paced his performance just right and gave his delivery thought and consideration as he strived to get Carole to see things from his point of view, resulting in his frustration being settled by infidelity.

The glue that holds this production together is the outstanding performance by Catherine Hall as Carole King. Wow – what a performance! From the opening scene, sat at the piano, to the closing scene, sat at the piano, it was clear where Carole king belonged, sat at the piano! and equally it was clear where Catherine Hall belonged – on stage in the role of Carole King, which could have been made for her. Every nuance of characterisation oozed from Catherine’s pores, stunning vocals were performed effortlessly and a crystal-clear narrative delivery that ensured every word was heard. This performance would not have been out of place on many a west end stage – sheer perfection.

Congratulations WCAODS in having the confidence to take on this new musical and having the skill and ability to pull it off so successfully.

Thank you for your hospitality.

Paul Cohen

More reviews to come...

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