Live Review: Carole King musical Beautiful reigns supreme at Sheffield's Lyceum
It is a bitterly cold, wintery night in Sheffield.
So what better way to warm the cockles than a brilliant feast of 60s and 70s pop classics and musical standards delivered with verve, passion and heaps of fun and sunshine?
That's precisely what was on offer as the very wonderful Beautiful: The Carole King Musical opened its week long run at Sheffield's Lyceum Theatre last night.
For those not in the know, the production tells the story of the early life and career of legendary US songwriter Carole King, using a host of the songs she wrote, some with then husband Gerry Goffin as well as a host of other contemporary musical gems.
It has been delighting audiences across the world for five years and now its here in South Yorkshire, with BBC Over The Rainbow finalist Bronte Barbe given the unenviable task of filling King's shoes.
But she delivered up a right royal treat, serving up some of the star's biggest songs - her breakthrough smash It Might As Well Rain Until September, the plaintive Will You Love Me Tomorrow and a foot-stomping finale of I Feel The Earth Move.
In between, the hits and memories keep coming in a fast-paced and slick show.
It's like dropping a dime or two in a 60s Americana jukebox - Neil Sedaka's Oh Carol, Little Eva's The Loco-Motion, The Drifters' On Broadway, The Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling and The Monkees' Pleasant Valley Sunday all being delivered by a strong and visually striking cast, interwined with some deft choreography.
As each new song kicks in, you can almost hear the audience dragging up the memories - and many were more than happy to clap and sing along to the cavalcade of hits.
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Of course, King and Goffin (Kane Oliver Parry) weren't the only 60s songwriters - and the production captures neatly their playful rivalry with fellow songwriters Barry Mann (Matthew Gonsalves) and Cynthia Weil (Amy Ellen Richardson).
There's some truly memorable vocal performances from all of them and backed up by a strong ensemble, its a fun, fast-paced trawl through some truly inpsiring and at times, moving musical memories.
If you want a glorious trip down memory lane back to the days when pure and simple pop ruled the radio waves, Beautiful is a simply superb shining nutshell of everything that was great about the 60s and 70s.
The King reigns supreme.
* Beautiful: The Carole King Musical runs at Sheffield's Lyceum Theatre until February 10.
Box office: 0114 249 6000. www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk