FANS of famous singer Carole King, who gave her a standing ovation on press night, might not realise how she started.

Carole’s story, based on a book by Douglas McGrath, is re-told in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical – now at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.

Carole began song writing at the age of sixteen when she created Will you Love Me Tomorrow (performed by the Shirelles) and, later wrote hits with her husband, Gerry Goffin.

They included Up on the Roof by the Drifters and, probably their most famous song, The Locomotion, first sung by Little Eva.

It is obvious that the audience know every single song whether written by King, Goffin or their best friends and rivals, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann who come up with You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin, On Broadway and We’ve Gotta Get out of this Place.

These four are played respectively by Bronté Barbé, Kane Oliver Parry, Amy Ellen Richardson and Mathew Gonsalves.

Barbé, in the title role, transports her character from nervous teenager to pop idol. She sings Carole King songs with power and imagination especially in the second half when she becomes a singer in her own right.

Oliver, a strong, masculine type, betrays her as a husband, which is a disappointing twist to this true story.

Richardson is probably the funniest of the lead characters but, when given the chance, she, too, can belt out well-known songs.

Gonsalves, her partner, also has a strong voice and an amusing touch.

The latter have much to contribute to a delightful show.

• The show is at the Palace Theatre. Manchester until January 6. For tickets, telephone 0844 871 3019 or frpm Star rating: * * *.