Sunday, December 4

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – Liverpool Empire

It actually felt like I spent an evening at Carnegie Hall, instead of the Liverpool Empire last night.

Beautiful tells the story of Carole King. How she became who she was, the peaks and troughs of her career as a songwriter and how that led to her becoming one of the most instantly recognisable artists of all time. The show starts with her famous performance at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, in New York City in June of 1971. We then get taken back to a teenage Carole Klein, writing songs and begging her mother to allow her into the city (from their home in Brooklyn) to try and sell her songs. She manages to sell the song which makes it to number 106 on the Billboard Charts when sung by Bobby Vee. We go through her career and relationship with Gerry Goffin, their friendship and competitiveness with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and are truly taken on a journey, all the way back round to her concert in New York.

There was genuinely no weak links in this cast. Mollie-Grace Cutler as Carole actually sounded like her in parts and it was clear to see why she was chosen for the role. She had the mannerisms and energy down perfectly and is a credit to King. Tom Milner portrays all the sides of Goffin and takes us on his journey and emotional turmoil. Jos Slavick feels as though he was born to play Barry Mann, with his mannerisms and singing and is paired perfectly with Seren-Sandham Davies’ Cynthia Weil, who is so hip and confident. Garry Robson was brilliant as Donnie Krishner, providing the friend and guide to the lead 4 characters and Claire Greenway was the perfect Brooklyn mother of Carole!

Photo: Ellie Kurttz

The set, from Frankie Bradshaw, was cleverly thought about for the touring production. (Having never seen the production on the West End, I can’t say how it differed.) But it was clear where the different scenes were taking place and the changes to the scenes. There seemed to be a couple of issues with the lighting, especially during some of the songs by the Drifters, but it really did not detract from the overall performance at all, it was just a bit confusing trying to find out who was singing as the time as the spotlight wasn’t where it should have been.

It was a jukebox musical, that was done properly and I would be happy to watch over and over again, as I definitely felt the earth move under my feet!

Beautiful runs at the Liverpool Empire until 19th November and tickets are available from

Reviewer: Jenn McKean

Reviewed: 15th November 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★