Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Review
Review by Callum Stott.
"Molly-Grace Cutler is not just performing as Carole King, she becomes Carole King."
From writing music for some of the most successful artists of the 1960s and 70s to becoming a 4-time Grammy Award-winning performer touring the world over, Carole King’s rise to mega-stardom is full of many ups and downs along the way.
The show follows Carole’s story from intellectual school girl to selling out Radio City Music Hall. Carole King has such an impressive music catalogue that many of her earlier hits were written for and performed by more established names. In the 1960s, with her then music and romantic partner, Gerry Goffin, they created hits like Take Good Care of My Baby for Booby Vee, Some Kind of Wonderful for The Drifters, and Will You Love Me Tomorrow? for The Shirelles. You get to experience Carole and Gerry's process of writing these hit songs, and you also learn about the duo's not so perfect relationship.
Only in the early 1970s when Carole becomes a solo artist, you are treated to hit songs like (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and I Feel The Earth Move. These moments are when the show comes alive; you feel like you are at a Carole King concert instead of a musical of her life. Molly-Grace Cutler takes on the task of portraying Carole. She embodies the performer's energy and delivers the standout performance of the production. Molly-Grace Cutler is not just performing as Carole King, she becomes Carole King. Tom Milner is well cast as Gerry Goffin. His relationship with Carole’s character felt very genuine. The two share many touching and more serious moments. Serem Samham-Davies also nails the energy required for Cynthia Weil and is a great performer.
This show is also a brand-new take on the Broadway and West End production making it feel more realistic. The set is a recording studio, and the characters play instruments throughout without the need for an orchestra. This idea worked well and surrounded you with all the music of Carole’s story and added to the performance overall.
Carole King’s sensational songs reach new audiences through this show. Beautiful is the perfect balance between a well-scripted biopic story and one which has excellent music and strong performances. Carole King’s album Tapestry has sold well over 25 Million albums and is one of the best-selling albums ever. This is an opportunity to experience these incredible songs in a brand-new production of this music legend’s story.