Beautiful - The Carole King Musical: Best show at the Ipswich Regent for some time

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical. Bronte Barbe as Carole King. Picture: CRAIG SUGDEN

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical. Bronte Barbe as Carole King. Picture: CRAIG SUGDEN - Credit: Archant

Review: Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, Ipswich Regent, to April 21

Tonight I witnessed the best production I have seen at the Ipswich Regent for some time - and I go to the theatre a lot.

I have to admit being a little sceptical. The current trend for juke box musicals and shows featuring the music of... have been popular of late, but would not always be my first choice.

I did not really know what to expect, but I was in no way prepared for the show that we were privileged to watch.

Right from the outset the scene was set. A lone piano on the stage with a set that changed constantly throughout the production with creative lighting and hydraulics, making it pacy and easy to follow the time transitions.

The highlight was, of course, the brilliant performances by all the cast.

Great renditions of hugely popular songs, all written by the incredibly talented Ms King and recreated by The Drifters, The Shirelles and more; with slick performances and dance moves taking us back in time. Special mention goes to the fabulous voices of the actors recreating the Righteous Brothers and their performance of You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.

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The storytelling was moving, telling the tale of the rise to fame of Carole from the tender age of 17, through to her solo performance at Carnegie Hall.

The main players were all superb, but special mention and credit has to go to Bronte Barbe for her portrayal of Carole King. It was sensitive, tender, emotional and powerful all rolled into one; giving the audience an insight into the mind of a composer and a look into the legendary songbook that is Carole King - every song familiar.

The live orchestra was great too.

In fact, the only thing that slightly let this opening night down was the sight lines into the wings of the theatre with a view of the stage crew.

Hopefully first night glitches as I would encourage anyone of any age to get themselves down to the Ipswich Regent this week for an evening of wonderful theatre and music.

Jo Reeder