I HAVE a confession to make. It is a confession that seems all the greater after watching Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at Sunderland’s Empire Theatre on Tuesday night.

Up until last year, when my sister suggested buying tickets for my parents to see the show, I had never heard of Carole King. Do not get me wrong, I knew and loved so many of the songs from her celebrated album Tapestry. I was also familiar with the many hit songs she wrote for other artists with her first husband, Gerry Goffin, but I did not know her. Well not anymore. I left the theatre with a strong desire to find out everything I could about King, and to immerse myself in her music.

For the talented cast and crew of Beautiful take the audience on a journey - King’s journey and it has left me hungry for more. From an ambitious teenager writing songs in her mum’s Brooklyn apartment, to her romance and creative partnership with Goffin, followed by the breakdown of their marriage – the show tells the story of what led King to write and record her multi-award-winning album Tapestry. Along the way we gain an insight into the song-writing process, and see how the stars of the day, such as The Drifters and the Chiffons, made the tracks their own. King and Goffin’s friendship with fellow songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil is also explored, with many of their greatest hits also brought to life on the stage.

I enjoyed every minute of this wonderful musical. The cast were amazing, especially Bronté Barbé as Carole. I cannot recommend it enough.