Beautiful: The Carole King Musical returned to Manchester this week and The Manc were kindly invited along to the press night. We of course accepted because we’re cultured like that.
Scores of excitable theatre heads were shuffling in the cold autumn queues for the packed-out show at the historic Palace Theatre on opening night on Tuesday, 12 October.
Charting the life and career of legendary singer-songwriter Carole King, the show takes you through her early days as a four-year-old piano prodigy, selling her first single at the age of 16 and marrying her creative partner Gerry Goffin to headlining Carnegie Hall and becoming a global music sensation.
Known for solo hits like ‘You’ve Got a Friend’, ‘So Far Away’, ‘It’s Too Late’ and dozens more, the production was part musical part history lesson, taking a whirlwind tour through the music industry in the 1960s and 70s.
While we came into the show thinking we knew a fair few tracks in her lengthy discography – ‘Take Good Care of My Baby’, ‘The Loco-Motion’, ‘Natural Woman’ and so on – we were surprised to learn just how much she has written over her illustrious career. This legend even wrote for The Beatles.
Seeing her personal and professional life play out on her way to eventually writing and singing songs for herself not only felt like an emotional trip back in time but almost fly on the wall documentary at times, only with big dramatic set-pieces fitting of the Palace’s equally beautiful room.
King herself is passionately portrayed by Molly Grace-Cutler, a 2020 Olivier award-winner who proves to be perfect casting as the Brooklyn-raised songstress.
Aside from her soaring vocals throughout its 2-hour run-time (excluding interval), her performance felt full of raw pain and joy in equal spades whilst still sprinkling plenty of comic relief, as did the rest of the ensemble.
Beyond the likes of Goffin (Tom Milner) and fellow 60s songstress Cynthia Weil (Seren Sandham-Davies) – who both enjoyed several stunning solos and big story beats as key players in King’s eventful life – we were particularly impressed with Jos Slovick, who starred as songwriting rival Barry Mann.
One of several main characters in the Brill Building and Dimension Records-era of her story, Slovick played the rosy-cheeked, allergy-ridden hit-maker and did so to perfection, regularly leaving the audience in stitches as well as taken aback by his soft vocals.
The performance was met with a well-deserved standing ovation and an encore that got the crowd moving for one last song. We couldn’t think of a better way to go out than with a boogie.
Even for theatre newbies, we dare say this smash hit Broadway and West End show could convert you and even if doesn’t end up as a gateway musical, it’s nigh on impossible for any music-lover not to get engrossed in this true story.
You can buy tickets for the remaining dates of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical via ATG HERE. The show finishes its five-day run on Saturday, 15 October, so get them while you can!
Greg James, Jimmy Anderson, and Felix White to bring popular cricket podcast live to Manchester
Greg James, Jimmy Anderson, and Felix White have announced they’re taking their smash-hit Tailenders podcast on a tour around the UK.
And cricket fans in Manchester will get to see the lads live in action later this year.
Launched back in 2017, and undoubtedly going on to become one of the most successful podcasts in the UK, with hundred of episodes and a whopping 2.5 million listeners on average tuning into each series, Tailenders is a “loosely cricket based, certified funny” podcast – and sometimes BBC radio show – centred around the world of cricket.
It’s presented by BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James, with and England international cricketer James Anderson, and ex-Maccabees guitarist Felix White.
The critically-acclaimed podcast became a hit right off the bat (pun absolutely intended), regularly finding itself at the top of the podcast charts in the UK when it hits the airwaves, and even scooping a few coveted awards along the way.
Now, the trio are gearing up to take their “alternative (and sometimes musical) look at cricket” on a live tour across the UK – with a stop off here in Manchester this October.
Fans of the podcast will know the show is also made with help from producer Mark ‘Sharky’ Sharman, and with regular input from Matt ‘Mattchin’ Horan – with the latter of the two set to join the core presenting trio on tour.
With fans told to expect “a night of cricket, a night of laughs, and night of surprises”, Tailenders: The Inaugural (Annual) Farewell Tour will be kicking-off in Nottingham on 19 October, before heading out to other major UK cites like London, Birmingham, Sheffield, and more, and arriving at the O2 Apollo in Manchester on Wednesday 25 October.
Tailenders: The Inaugural (Annual) Farewell Tour 2023
Thursday 19 October – Royal Concert Hall (Nottingham)
Saturday 21 October – New Theatre (Oxford)
Sunday 22 October – Cliffs Pavillion (Southend)
Tuesday 24 October – City Hall (Sheffield)
Wednesday 25 October – O2 Apollo Manchester
Thursday 26 October – Symphony Hall (Birmingham)
Friday 27 October – Eventim Apollo (London)
Saturday 28 October – Forum (Bath)
The highly-anticipated tour follows the podcast’s biggest-ever live show at London’s Palladium earlier this year, which sold out within just three minutes – and tickets are predicted to be snapped up just as quickly this time round.