Saturday, January 28

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – The King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Everything about Beautiful – The Carole King Musical presented by The Curve Production is top notch. The direction (Nikolai Foster) is superb with seamless transitions on a wonderfully apt set (Frankie Bradshaw) and, of course the cast, every one of them, is talented, exuberant and committed. They are multi-talented actors, singers and instrumentalists. This show is full of life. It is joyful from the very start.

Carole King’s story is inspiring. Her music, and that of her contemporaries, has stood the test of time. She is one of the most successful solo acts in pop music history and the quality of this production would make her smile, I am sure. 

Characters mill around on stage, chatting, setting up mics etc while the audience settle down. Click your fingers and the auditorium blacks out and we are straight into the action. This busy, peopled stage with instruments hanging on the walls reflects the collaborative nature of every rehearsal room in every recording studio, everywhere. The trail of dry ice drifting towards the ceiling while the audience finds their seats gives the impression of a rehearsal and performance not long over. It suggests the remnants of fiery artistry; a buzz of potential creativity seeping into the atmosphere.   

Photo: Ellie Kurttz

There’s absolutely no need to be a fan of Carole King fan. You will undoubtedly feel the tingle of great music and great performers. Molly-Grace Cutler will entrance you immediately. She is warm and endearing as King and her performance is flawless. She can belt out a tune and her whole body sings. Her fellow actors acknowledge her range and energy at the end of the show, and it is witnessing talent and skill at this level which makes live theatre so wonderful.

Not that the rest of the cast weren’t on an equal footing. Tom Milner as Gerry Goffin was strong and totally convincing. His rendition of Up on the Roof was beautiful. And The Drifters (Myles Miller, Kemi Clarke, Jordan Louis-Fernand and Kevin Yates) were athletic and pitch perfect. I found myself smiling from ear-to-ear as they performed On Broadway.

In fact, if I were to do justice to this cast, I would have to name each and every one of them. There was not a weak link among them. I really liked the character of Barry Mann played by Jos Slovick and Seren Sandham-Davies who portrayed his partner, Cynthia Weil, performed with aplomb and vitality. The Shirells and Little Eva were all portrayed with elegance and authenticity thanks to choreographer Leah Hill and costume designer, Edd Lindley.

The writing (book by Douglas McGrath and adaptation by Sarah Travis) is funny and slick. The set transitions and costumes enhance the youthful script. And it is extraordinary to get an insight into the musical genius, King’s life, and clock the sheer number of hits she and her colleagues are responsible for. It is truly awe-inspiring. 

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical deserves all the accolades it has been showered with over the years. It is a winner. Ms King is a winner. I loved it. Thank you to all involved. Your standing ovation was well deserved.

Playing until 17th September,

Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield

Reviewed: 13th September 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★