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  • Writer's pictureSophie Harkness

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical (Leeds) Review

Hellooo! It's been a while! I've got a list of reviews I need to write as I've been to a load of shows over the past but haven't gotten round to writing about them yet. Way back on the 31st May I went over to The Grand Theatre in Leeds to see Beautiful - The Carole King Musical as a little birthday treat to myself! I booked my ticket a few days beforehand and ended up sat in seat E10 in the Upper Circle. The seat was £25 including fees and was marked as 'restricted view' so I was curious to see just how 'restricted' the view was. As you can see in the picture to the right, there was a pole right down the middle of the stage however, it wasn't as much of a bother as I expected it to be and wasn't the worst view I've ever had. I did find myself leaning to the left or right every now and again but that wasn't too much of a problem as I was sat in an aisle seat and had no one sat in the seat to the right of me. The view felt pretty central and wasn't too much of a side view of the stage so I didn't mind the pillar for the price of the seat.

I didn't really know anything about the show going in other than that it was about Carole King and her music and I'd seen the tour advertised elsewhere but hadn't managed to go and see it. Just before the show began, an announcement was made that Leigh Lothian would be performing in the role of Carole King for that performance. I LOVED her voice and if I hadn't known she was the alternate Carole King I wouldn't have guessed! During the interval I had a little look on the WestEnd Understudies Twitter page where they post if there are any understudies or swings on for performances of all West End and UK touring shows and found that we also had a couple of swings on too! Lauren Byrne was performing the role of Betty and Jacob McIntosh performed as a Drifter and again, you wouldn't have guessed! The entire cast were SO talented and I loved watching them!

I loved the story of the show however, it did feel at times that there were a few songs crammed into the story in succession, particularly in Act 1. Looking at the programme, there were 17 songs in Act 1 and 10 in Act 2. For me, it felt like the songs could have been a little more spread out in Act 1 but I guess if the story called for songs to be performed so close together then that's just the way it had to be. Having said all that, I really liked all the songs in the show and the way that they were performed and enjoyed learning about Carole King!

The sets and lighting suited the show well and weren't too over the top and everything sounded really good. There were a couple of technical hitches where a phone fell off the piano as it moved and then when one of the guys was trying to get his guitar out from behind the sofa, it just would not detach itself! However, the cast dealt with them really well and carried on with the show seamlessly. Oh and there were a couple of on stage costume quick-changes which I very much enjoyed and I really liked the costumes throughout the show! I loved the comedic script which earned giggles from the audience such as a line from Carole near the start which I really liked where she said 'I have the right amount of body; it's just not organised right'.

Overall, I really enjoyed the uplifting feel of Beautiful and loved the music throughout! It was a great way to spend an afternoon and if it returns to the West End or on tour I'd definitely recommend it if you just want a nice afternoon at the theatre! Oh and I LOVED Leigh Lothian as Carole King!

Thanks for reading! Sophie

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