Newcastle Theatre Royal, 19/04/2022
Originally premiered in 2013, ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’ has been re-imagined for a new production that is touring across the UK. The show tells the story of Carole King from the first big break at 16 years old right up to a career defining performance at Carnegie Hall after the release of her number 1 album ‘Tapestry’.
Not being too familiar with Carole King as a songwriting name but recognising so many of the songs in the programme, this is one we were really interested to see how it all connected. Read on to find out our five reasons to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
1. It’s an entirely new production
Everything from the original production has been reimagined in this show, stripped back and changed to create a completely new feel. The approach to this new production feels really fresh and unique in the decisions that have been made across the alterations. It breathes some fresh air into the jukebox musical genre and creates something that stands out amongst the rest. From the simplistic set to the new way the songs are performed, it’s really worth seeing this new production.
2. The show is actor-muso
For those unfamiliar with the term ‘actor-muso’, this means that the actors on stage also play the instruments for the score of the musical too. It’s done in such a slick way that allows the story to flow on stage and leaves the audience in awe at the talent of the performers who can not only act and sing but play multiple instruments too. This feels like a big change that has been made to the show that really allows it to feel unique.
3. Molly-Grace Cutler as Carole King
Taking the lead role in this show, Molly-Grace Cutler is outstanding as Carole King. In the first scene we see a 29 year old, mature Carole King take to the stage at Carnegie Hall in 1971 but then are thrust back to 1958 and see Cutler transform to an excitable and ambitious 16 year old Carole King about to meet Donnie Kirshner (Garry Robson) for the first time in an attempt to sell her song. The emotional journey that Cutler portrays alongside the mannerisms and accent of Carole King are all perfect. You really do feel part of her story.
4. There’s so many timeless songs
Aside from the creative journey of Carole King and her husband Gerry Goffin (played wonderfully by Tom Milner), you see their friendship with another songwriting partnership of Cynthia Weil (Seren Sandham-Davies) and Barry Mann (Jos Slovick). Through these parallel stories of their friendly rivalry to get number ones, we are treated to a tapestry of hits from both duos such as ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow?’ and ‘The Locomotion’ both by King and Goffin, to ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’’ and ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’ by Mann and Weil. This show is packed with hits and they are performed in such a way that it doesn’t feel tiresome at all.
5. You feel like a fly on the wall
This show is heavily based in a recording studio as the two couples pen their hits over the years. The feel of these scenes is quite to that of the recent Peter Jackson Beatles documentary ‘Get Back’, as you witness some of the most beloved songs from this era be played for the first time. In this show, some of this ‘first time played’ material is weaved into fully fledged performances by the groups they are written for which allows you to see how these songs transform and keeps a freshness to the score.
In summary, this new production really does redefine how a jukebox musical can become something unexpected and unique. The entire cast are absolutely outstanding and the talent is bursting from this show as are the hits you are treated to. This show really is as the title suggests, beautiful. Don’t miss out on tickets as Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is playing at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday 23rd April before visiting many other venues that you can get tickets for by clicking here!