Beautiful and Brilliant - The Carole King Musical opens at Mayflower Theatre
BEAUTIFUL and utterly brilliant, I'd go as far as to say The Carole King Musical is the best thing I've seen on stage in many years.
It tells the story of an iconic singer-songwriter who has never quite got the recognition she deserves, despite dozens of hits from her pen, piano and voice.
The show, featuring a host of terrifically talented actor-musicians switching characters and instruments constantly, tells the tale of Carole King's years in the spotlight.
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Molly-Grace Cutler is in fine voice as she starts off as the talented songwriting teen who follows her dreams and ends the show as a global star showcasing her 1971 smash hit Album Tapestry at Carnegie Hall in New York, just a few miles from where she grew up. She cuts a likeable King in a heart-warming performance, but also delivers the equivalent of a top-class concert, in character.
Central to the story is King's relationship with then-husband Gerry Goffin (a suitably troubled Tom Milner), the pair behind hits like Will You Love Me Tomorrow?, Some Kind Of Wonderful, Take Good Care Of My Baby and Up On The Roof.
The friendly rivalry with another successful songwriting duo, self-assured Cynthia Weil (Seren Sandham-Davies) and humorous hypochondriac Barry Mann (Jos Slovick), is wonderfully portrayed.
In this clever and exceptionally funny show, numbers are often performed in embryonic form in the rehearsal room by the writer and lyricist, morphing into a polished performance by the band who made them famous in full stage gear. Somehow the exceptional cast delivers 28 numbers, performing as Neil Sedaka, The Righteous Brothers, The Shirelles, The Drifters and more.
A particular mention must go to Amena El-Kindy who, as King’s former babysitter turned singer Little Eva, perfectly performs The Loco-Motion on rollerskates with seeming ease.
This new version of the musical, a Mayflower Theatre co-production which won Tony Awards in New York and Olivier Awards in London, deserves plenty more plaudits on the road.
Beautiful The Carole King Musical runs until Saturday at Mayflower Theatre. Tickets from mayflower.org.uk or 023 8071 1811.
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