Beautiful The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

February, 2016

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Product country

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Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

This was a last-minute booking online just a couple of days before, but a good deal for £15 with no booking or card fee through “londontheatres.com”:http://londontheatres.com as a special offer. Tickets are quite expensive, up to £90, but this was a special offer right at the top of the Grand Circle – and although you missed the top of the heads of a couple of singers on a platform on stage, we had a clear view of the whole stage and the sound was excellent. There are seats available in stalls for those who cannot manage the stairs.

Aldwych Theatre is a lovely old building, with traditional ornate plaster-work around the bar and a splendid chandelier. The performance is at 7.30pm so they tell you to get there early to collect tickets, and to allow time for bag searches, but you do have to wait outside until the bar opens at 6.30pm. This was a special birthday celebration performance to mark 1 year, so there were a lot of “celebrity” guests also arriving (nope, got no idea who most of them were) – I did recognise Alison Steadman with friends in the bar, and later Vanessa Feltz – but for some others, there was a bit of a whip-round between them when they realised the bar didn’t take Amex…tut, tut.

This was an exciting show about all the music Carole King worked on from when she was at school, and was a fascinating picture of how the promoters/ songwriters decided who should sing each new song. For those who remember them, there was a brilliant representation of the over-the-top dance routines of groups like the Drifters and the Chantelles with lots of synchronised arm movements! There was a superb performance by the “Righteous Brothers” of You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling.

It was a wonderful journey through her writing and singing partnerships, including the problems with her marriage and ultimate divorce. There were lots of funny bits too, especially when they got their babysitter Little Eva to try singing their new song The Locomotion! They were all wonderful singers, especially the one who played Carole King in this performance. As it was the anniversary show, they were all joined on stage at the end by the original US producer.

Overall, it was an unexpectedly exciting evening reminding me of all those brilliant songs from my youth. Oh yes, and a reminder of the fancy little mini-dress with rows of fringe I used to wear to discos – such a long time ago now!

Jacqueline Jeynes

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