Beautiful – The Carole King Musical At The Theatre Royal, Plymouth Review


Reviewed by Linda Curtain

Well – what a music-fest that was!! I have just been to see the amazing musical ‘Beautiful’ at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and what a great evening it was!  Based on the life of the amazingly talented singer/songwriter Carole King, Beautiful is on stage this week and what a treat for Plymouth audiences.

Theatre Royal Plymouth is well respected on the theatre circuit for showing top class productions, catering for a wide variety of theatrical tastes and this show will certainly appeal to an audience looking for an evening of non-stop top class music. The theatre is situated centrally in Plymouth on Royal Parade and is well served with good bus routes and ample nearby parking.

On arriving last evening, tickets were scanned by welcoming door staff who are always on hand to point people in the right direction to the bars and auditorium. Once settled in our seats, we were immediately transported to the rehearsal studio where Carole worked on her numerous hits.

The show started with Carole singing and playing the piano at the Carnegie Hall in New York before the story moved back to Carole’s humble home life where, at the young age of sixteen, she was determined to succeed with her career as a songwriter. Her approach to producer Donnie Kirshner (played by Garry Robson) with her debut song led to immediate success and a meeting with Gerry Goffin cemented an incredible song writing partnership which saw them writing numerous hit songs for groups such as The Righteous Brothers, The Shirelles and The Drifters to name but a few. Who knew that Little Eva was actually their baby-sitter and the Locomotion was written especially for her?!
The whole evening was energy packed. What a talented cast – from recreating many of the groups that sang the hits, to playing numerous instruments that were strategically placed within the scenery, they all worked tirelessly throughout the show.

Molly-Grace Cutler was great as Carole King with haunting vocals and an appealing stage presence. She told Carole’s story as she moved from a naïve sixteen year old, through a difficult marriage break-up to become an amazing soloist, with passion and commitment.

Tim Milner as Carole’s husband Gerry Goffin, showed such determination to succeed and the portrayal of his final break down was very dramatic.

The rivalry and friendship with another songwriting duo (Cynthia Weil – played by Seren Sandham-Davies (what an amazing voice!) and Barry Mann – played by Jos Slovick) was well portrayed and the comedy elements shone through.
Throughout the show, the songs reflected on various points in Carole’s life – ‘will you still love me tomorrow’ being refrained several times as Carole’s life seemed to be crumbling around her. The duet between Carole and Janelle – One Fine Day -when she had discovered Gerry’s affair was a very touching end to the first act.

The second act focused more on Carole’s move into her solo career. It was wonderful to see her confidence and maturity shining through as she launched her new career. With such an amazing supporting cast, the build up to her appearance at Carnegie Hall, singing songs from her award winning album ‘Tapestry’ brought the show to an outstanding finale.

Well done to the whole cast and production team. What a tribute to such an iconic female singer/songwriter who has certainly enhanced the music industry.

Rating: 5/5

Tickets: from £18.00

Beautiful is at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday 24th sept.
Tickets available from

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