She penned some of the most iconic songs of the 60s and 70s – but her personal rise to stardom was far from a fairytale.
In this revival of XX’s Beautiful, the story of Carole King soars to new heights as the team from Leicester’s Curve breathe new life into this unbelievable story.
This production throws away the frills of previous incarnations, focussing instead on the music which catapulted King to a household name and solidified a soundtrack that straddled generations.
Set around the recoding studios where King and partner Gerry Goffin made their music, the story also follows the pair’s personal relationship – and the strain that success put on the young couple.
Audiences leave with a real sense of Carole herself. Undoubtedly a deeply talented individual on paper, it’s King’s charm and charisma which is seen here more than ever before.
Olivier Award winning Molly-Grace Cutler embodies King completely from her beginnings as a dorky New York teen to struggling mother and her re-emergence to the music scene. Cutler greets the Glasgow crowd with a warmth few could convincingly replicate.
Hers is a five star performance. She is both anchor of the piece and an accessory, such is her ability to blend into the background while fellow cast mates take their moment in the spotlight.
It speaks to Cutler’s embodiment of the living legend that in the segments where others play King’s music, she looks on with a joy that King herself would have done as her music jumped from manuscript to wax.
Beautiful’s ensemble bursts with talent as a plucky dozen or so step into the shoes of the like of The Drifters, The Isley Brothers and Little Eva.
These impressions are a pale imitation of the aforementioned but exemplify the sheer success which King and Goffin reached in a tiny timeframe.
As musicals go, Beautiful is hard to beat. With a score jam-packed with hits and a tragic story that is impossible not to be swept away by, it’s a night out that you won’t forget.
Beautiful at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow until Saturday 17th September 2022, then touring