Beautiful

I feel the earth move under my feet

I feel the sky tumbling down

I feel my heart start trembling

Whenever you’re around

A poetic verse from the pen of American song/writer Carole King. A divulgent proclamation starting her 1971 hit named after the first pentad of the lyric. Lexilogical meanderings overtly expressing to her beau the positive affect of his presence.

Unashamedly romantic prose unlikely to feature in TV reality show ‘Get Your Coat You’ve Pulled!’ A refrain from an era which, although famed for it’s promiscuity and self-indulgence, could still unselfconsciously express sentimentality. In particular, via various modes of creativity, including a well produced lament.

‘I Feel The Earth Move’ may not possess the most profound lyrical whimsy ever produced. For instance, I’d wager my limerick starting ‘There was a lady from Cleaver…’ usurps it in the quixotic category. Unfortunately for me, though, the accompanying melody to Ms King’s words is significantly superior to my whistled supplement to the tale of Cleaver’s finest.

Consequently, Carole is a multi-award winning writer/performer and I’m not…… Although when my comedy production ‘Gary Strachan – The Musical’ hits theatres, like the audience, you won’t be laughing then Ms King.

The New York born songbird can look back at her legacy – A wonderful back catalogue of refrains that shaped a musical era. Meanwhile, I look back into an Argos catalogue to see if they’ve any cheap offers on printer cartridges.

There’s only a fine line between greatness and mediocrity……. Well there is if you believe the teachings of the There’s Only A Fine Line Between Greatness & Mediocrity Society. A London based group who meet ever third Wednesday to judge the artist merits of our entertainment gods.

Controversial meetings where members indulge in a metaphorical game of Top Trumps, deciding where a star’s level of adulation should lay in comparison to their celebrity peers…… Oft heated affairs, which if finished early are concluded with a game of Jenga or Connect 4.

Anyhow, the reason I bring up the work of Carole King is yesterday evening my wife and me attended the theatre to witness ‘Beautiful – The Carol King Musical’. An artist my late father introduced me to decades ago via her wonderful album ‘Tapestry’.

The album an iconic musical solioquy of Ms Kings journey to stardom, loved so much by my brood that in adulthood we all possessed a copy.

A strategy we adopted ensuring my father, siblings and me are never more than ten metres from a Carole King refrain…….. Unless of course we leave our respective abodes. As much as we love Carole King’s music, we don’t take her CD everywhere, which would be silly……. Unless we played it on the car’s audio system…….. Ok, ok I’ll move on!

‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical’ is a musical theatre gem – Bronte Barbe’s performance in the eponymous role was truly fantastic. The girl, trained at an academy of theatre arts on Del Boy’s manor (Peckham) turning in a portray of Carole King significantly better than just ‘lovely jubbly’.

I don’t know if this time next year she’ll be a millionaire, however, barring mishap, I’d wager she’ll be thoroughly entertaining audiences in some form…… I guess you’d like both, Bronte. Come on though, lass, don’t be greedy!

Ms Barbe’s portrayal of the New Yorker took me back to numerous family get togethers at my parents home. Times sitting with good company, fine food/wine and Carole King or James Taylor’s voice enhancing the already pleasant ambience.

Occasionally, we’d turn the volume up so we could hear the music over my mum’s non-stop gabbing. As funny as mater can be, I’d rather listen to Ms King pleasing tones performing ‘So Far Away’, ‘It’s Too Late’ and ‘Beautiful’ than mum’s story about how chipmunks got their name.

Bronte Barbe was ably abetted by an accomplished cast, including Kane Oliver Parry, Amy Ellen Richardson, Matthew Gonsalves, Carol Royle and an Ensemble who treat us to splendid portrayals of artists such as Neil Sedaka, The Drifters, Little Eva and the Shirelles.

Seeing Ms Royle live onstage was a real treat for me. In my late teens, watching her on afternoon soap opera ‘The Cedar Tree’, I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the whole world. In fact, whenever Ms Royle hit the screen:-

I felt the earth move under my feet

I felt the sky tumbling down

I felt my heart start trembling

Whenever you’re around

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