Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. The Olivier award-winning West End and Broadway show returned to the Theatre Royal Newcastle last night until Sat 23 Apr 2022.
Last at the Newcastle Theatre Royal back in 2017, this show returned with a new production for us to see. I attended courtesy of Press Tickets and was excited to see what this show came back with and well the show is just as its name suggests…Beautiful.
For those that haven’t seen it. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit song-writing team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.
The show starts and ends at Carnegie Hall. As we are taken through Carole Kings life story. From a humble girl who ventured off to make her dreams come true, a marriage, and friendships with co-writers ending with a pinnacle performance topped up with countless hits – this show delivers wonderfully.
The staging is simple, mainly set within a music studio, we are entertained with hit after hit. At times I felt I was watching a scene and then suddenly felt immersed in the performance I was watching as if it was in front of me. You’ll find yourself bopping your head and tapping your toes as I did and for some even singing along.
The first half focuses on Carole moving away, finding love, marrying and the couples relationship and competitive nature with best friends and fellow writers Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. We see many hits created by these two writing partnerships that you will know and love!
I particularly loved how they brought these to life from writing idea to a short performance by the bands they were written for.
You see Carole King is one of these artists that you’ll know the song but not realise who wrote it. King wrote for some of the biggest bands of her eras before being a solo artist, namely the Shirelles and the Drifters.
The second half focuses more so on her marriage breakdown and emergence as a solo artist.
Throughout the show you’ll hear classics such as (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Take Good Care of My Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, So Far Away, It Might as Well Rain Until September, Up on the Roof and The Locomotion.
Molly-Grace Cutler played Carole King and did so beautifully. Cutler has an amazing voice that was as emotive in tone as her words were. Cutler shows us a real journey of her character from bright eyed 16 year old, to tired wife, to the noticeably confident persona and voice belting out at the end of the show.
Tom Milner as her husband Gerry Goffin managed to get a few boos late on in the show, and goes from hero to zero through this play. An apparent perfect match at the beginning we see Milner as Coffin lose focus and control.
Seren Sandham-Davies as Cynthia Weil and Jos Slovick at Barry Mann are brilliant as best friends and writers. Sandham-Davies gave a fabulous performance alongside Slovicks portrayal of the talented hypochondriac.
The ensemble are brilliant throughout. Whether they are portraying a band, studio member or backing singer, every single member of the cast played an instrument at some point as well as all having great voices. Shout out to Kevin Yates whose voice grabbed my attention every time too.
A hugely enjoyable night, not only listening to some great songs, but a wonderful story of how Carole King came to be the legend she is.
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tue 19 – Sat 23 Apr 2022. Tickets are priced from £15.00 and can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.