The Carole King Musical at Curve Theatre Leicester is truly Beautiful
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, at Curve, is, as its name suggests, simply beautiful from start to finish.
The storyline follows the life of Carole King - played by Molly-Grace Cutler, who delivers the role exquisitely - from her early years through to performing at Carnegie Hall as a seasoned performer.
King's story is told exceptionally well throughout, with her mother encouraging her musicality from a very young age to how this bright college girl met her songwriter partner, Gerry Goffin - another excellent role played by Tom Milner.
At the start of her career, King is taken on by New York's Donnie Kirshner, played by Garry Robson, who has a knack for spotting talent and takes 16-year-old Carole under his wing.
From there, King composes many hit songs with Goffin, including Some Kind of Wonderful, Take Good Care of My Baby, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up On The Roof and The Locomotion performed by some incredible voices making up 'The Drifters' , 'The Shirelles' and 'Little Eva'.
King becomes pregnant early on in the relationship and the couple get married. The story follows the struggles they have as they drop out of college to work and look after their daughter, whilst King continues to compose music and Goffin writes the lyrics in the evenings.
Donnie Kirshner also takes on another songwriting duo in the show - Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, played by Jos Slovick and Seren Sandham-Davies - whose competitive spirit pushes each duo to produce more hits. Mann and Weil's On Broadway and You've Lost that Loving Feeling are just a couple of their songs showcased during the performance.
Carole and Gerry's relationship begins to fall apart due to Gerry having relationships outside of the marriage, and the show charts King navigation through this. The scenes are dealt with sensitively, and Barry and Cynthia - although competitive with their music - are shown as sympathetic towards and true friends of Carole when she needs them most, especially when she makes the decision to leave Gerry.
The unfolding story gives extra special meaning to the songs delivered so powerfully during the evening. The audience is made to feel part of the show, and many were moving in their seats when classic songs were delivered.
The staging of Beautiful is perfect, capturing the essence of the '60s. The lighting complements the glamour of the showbiz world perfectly.
The final scenes show King leaving to set up a new life with her daughters in LA where she has huge success in the 1970s with her then new album, Tapestry, featuring many hits, including Will You Love Me Tomorrow, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and, of course, Beautiful.
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical is at Curve until Saturday March 12
Photo: Ellie Kurttz